Assessing the tourism carrying capacity of hiking trails in the Szczeliniec Wielki and Błędne Skały in Stołowe Mts. National Park
The objective of this study was to determine the tourism carrying capacity on hiking trails in the Szczeliniec Wielki and Błędne Skały. Those attractions are located in the Stołowe Mts. National Park of the Sudetes in the South-Western part of Poland along the border with the Czech Republic. The total area of the Stołowe Mts. NP is 6,340 ha and it contains around 100 km of marked hiking trails. Tourist traffic in the Szczeliniec Wielki and Błędne Skały has its peaks during weekends and holiday periods reaching mass tourism scales. For this reason it is important to establish a clear tourism carrying capacity and to ensure this capacity is not exceeded. In this study, tourism carrying capacity was estimated based on trail width measurements and observations on the visitors’ behavior on trails. As a result an optimal distance between the visitors on a hiking trail was determined to be 4 meters of trail length per person. Whether the tourist carrying capacity was exceeded, was determined by calculating an index based on visitor data collected through the Monitoring System of tourist traffic (MStt). The MStt system consists of 38 infrared traffic counters (pyro-electric sensors) installed at the tourist trail entrances within the Stołowe Mts. National Park borders. Visitor data were aggregated into daily, monthly and annual reports, taking into account the direction of the visitors traffic on the studied hiking trails, i.e., entries only (IN), exits only (OUT) and total passings (IN+OUT). The tourist flow in Stołowe Mts. NP was characterized by its strong fluctuations over time with the carrying capacity index being exceeded only during long weekends and holiday periods. Additionally, the peak in traffic occurred around midday in spring and summer months. During those periods, the average traffic exceeded the hourly tourism carrying capacity by ca. 30%. Significant differences in tourist traffic were due the variability in visitor numbers, time of peak traffic and the dynamics of visitor numbers.
|Source||Leśne Prace Badawcze, 2019, 80 (2): 125–135|
|Type of article
||Original research article|
||Przepustowość szlaków turystycznych na Szczelińcu Wielkim i Błędnych Skałach w Parku Narodowym Gór Stołowych|
|Publisher||Instytut Badawczy Leśnictwa, Sękocin Stary, Poland|