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Promoting Inclusive Outdoor Recreation in National Park Governance: A Comparative Perspective from Canada and Spain


  • Maria José Aguilar-Carrasco

    (Department of Urbanism, School of Civil Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain)

  • Eric Gielen

    (Department of Urbanism, School of Civil Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain)

  • Maria Vallés-Planells

    (Department of Agrifood and Rural Engineering, School of Agricultural Engineering and Environment, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain)

  • Francisco Galiana

    (Department of Agrifood and Rural Engineering, School of Agricultural Engineering and Environment, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain)

  • Mercedes Almenar-Muñoz

    (Department of Urbanism, School of Architecture, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain)

  • Cecil Konijnendijk

    (Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada)


While national parks (NPs) have for a long time made substantial contributions to visitor well-being, many spaces remain out of reach of people with disabilities (PwDs). This is partly due to a lack of policies that take accessibility for broader intersectional audiences into consideration. This paper evaluates governance and legal frameworks in NPs in both Canada and Spain. A decision-making framework based on intersectionality realities is proposed to assess current conditions of environmental good governance using a set of descriptors created to scrutinize laws and technical documents that can promote equitable access to NPs. To validate results derived from the regulatory evaluation, semistructured interviews with park managers were carried out. Results revealed the importance of incorporating equity discourses into policies that regulate NP networks to guarantee that all the intersectional realities for park uses are considered in their management. Furthermore, when a country develops a well-structured federal framework under which the rights of PwDs are ensured, it transcends other fields of law. Differences between the Canadian and the Spanish situation are highlighted, as well as the need for links between higher-level policies and laws and on-the-ground implementation, with NP management plans playing an important role.

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  • Maria José Aguilar-Carrasco & Eric Gielen & Maria Vallés-Planells & Francisco Galiana & Mercedes Almenar-Muñoz & Cecil Konijnendijk, 2022. "Promoting Inclusive Outdoor Recreation in National Park Governance: A Comparative Perspective from Canada and Spain," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(5), pages 1-25, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jijerp:v:19:y:2022:i:5:p:2566-:d:756334

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Meredith Perry & Lucy Cotes & Benjamin Horton & Rebecca Kunac & Isaac Snell & Blake Taylor & Abbey Wright & Hemakumar Devan, 2021. "“Enticing” but Not Necessarily a “Space Designed for Me”: Experiences of Urban Park Use by Older Adults with Disability," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(2), pages 1-19, January.
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    4. Esteban Pérez-Calderón & Jorge Manuel Prieto-Ballester & Vanessa Miguel-Barrado & Patricia Milanés-Montero, 2020. "Perception of Sustainability of Spanish National Parks: Public Use, Tourism and Rural Development," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(4), pages 1-14, February.
    5. Piervito Bianchi & Giulio Mario Cappelletti & Elisabetta Mafrolla & Edgardo Sica & Roberta Sisto, 2020. "Accessible Tourism in Natural Park Areas: A Social Network Analysis to Discard Barriers and Provide Information for People with Disabilities," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(23), pages 1-14, November.
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