Planning and management needs up-to-date, easily-obtainable and accurate information on the spatial and social aspects of visitor behaviour in order to balance human use and impacts, and protection of natural resources in public parks. We used a web-based public participation GIS (PPGIS) approach to gather citizen data on visitor behaviour in Helsinki's Central Park in order to aid collaborative spatial decision-making. The study combined smartphone GPS tracking, route drawing and a questionnaire to examine differences between user groups in their use of formal trails, off-trail behaviour and the motivations that affect it. In our sample (n = 233), different activity types were associated with distinctive spatial patterns and potential extent of impacts. The density mapping and statistical analyses indicated three types of behaviour: predominantly on or close to formal trails (runners and cyclists), spatially concentrated off-trail behaviour confined to a few informal paths (mountain bikers), and dispersed off trail use pattern (walkers and dog walkers). Across all user groups, off-trail behaviour was mainly motivated by positive attraction towards the environment such as scenic view, exploration, and viewing flora and fauna. Study findings lead to several management recommendations that were presented to city officials. These include reducing dispersion and the spatial extent of trampling impacts by encouraging use of a limited number of well-established informal paths away from sensitive vegetation and protected habitats. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- 1172 Ympäristötiede