Publication Title

Ecotourism : A guide for Planners and Managers. Volume 2


The Ecotourism Society, North Bennignton, VT

Publication Date



In this chapter, the challenges of protected area planning are explored by addressing the latter question. The chapter focuses on maintaining protected area values in face of increasing recreational pressure, although these general concepts and principles can be applied to other "threats" as well (Machlis and Tichnell 1985). First, the social and political contexts within which such planning occurs are outlined. It is to these complex contexts that an interactive, collaborative-learning based planning process would seem most appropriate. Next, an overview of eleven principles of visitor management is presented. These principles must be acknowledged and incorporated in any protected area planning system. Following this section, the conditions needed to implement a carrying capacity approach are reviewed; these requisite conditions lead us to conclude that, despite a resurgence of interest, the carrying capacity model does not adequately address the needs of protected area management. The final section briefly outlines the Limits of Acceptable Change planning system, an example of an approach that can incorporate the eleven previously described principles and has a demonstrated capacity to respond to the needs of protected area managers. The ideas in this chapter have been variously presented in Malaysia, Venezuela, Canada, and Puerto Rico (McCool 1996, McCool and Stankey 1992, Stankey and McCool 1993) and have benefited from the positive interactions and feedback received from protected area managers in those countries.