Brabyn, L. & Sutton, S. (2013). A population based assessment of the geographical accessibility of outdoor recreation opportunities in New Zealand. Applied Geography, 41, 124-131.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7649
Active participation in the outdoors not only provides enjoyment and adventure, but it is also important for health and promoting conservation values. The latter is particularly important for young people as they are at an impressionable stage in their lives. Geographical accessibly of recreation opportunities can be a major barrier to utlization of the New Zealand outdoors. While it would be ideal to have a variety of opportunities available to everyone regardless of residence, the distribution of opportunities is constrained by the extent of suitable lands. This research provides a population based assessment of the geographical accessibility of recreational opportunities. Accessibility has many dimensions and includes cultural, financial, and geographical barriers; therefore this research is only addressing one dimension of accessibility. Geographical Information Systems is used for the analysis, which involves a function called least-cost path analysis. This identified the travel time (using a private vehicle) via the quickest route from where people live (represented by census enumeration points) to the entry point of the recreation sites. The outputs of this research are maps and spatial statistics on the travel times to a range of recreation opportunities for different parts of New Zealand. This information is important for recreation planning. In addition, the information also provides research opportunities for modelling recreation use, especially when accessibility information is combined with landscape experience information and recreation usage statistics.