Out of my way: Using qualitative methods to understand recreation conflict between bushwalkers and mountain bike riders


  • Kirsty Tumes Monash University


recreation conflict, goal interference conflict, social values conflict, qualitative method


As a consequence of the increase in recreation in protected natural areas and the expanding diversity of activities, recreation conflict has been identified as a concern for managers. To date, researchers have focused on examining recreation conflict from a quantitative perspective employing predetermined scales and questionnaires. This method of inquiry has been useful in progressing the understanding of recreation conflict, however the subtleties in understanding the complexities of recreation conflict may have been overlooked. This paper draws on exploratory research findings from fieldwork and interviews with bushwalkers to demonstrate the value and importance of understanding the user’s perspective and their experiences. Findings suggest that recreation conflict incidents have occurred between mountain bike riders and bushwalkers when mountain bike riders engaged in inappropriate behaviour such as riding on walking-only tracks. This paper therefore highlights the complexities and subtleties of recreation conflict and provides suggestions to inform the development of a more comprehensive model for recreation conflict management in protected areas.