Sandra Wall-Reinius* - Mid Sweden University
Dimitri Ioannides - Mid Sweden University
A long-term close relationship exists between national parks and tourism travel although goals, motives, needs, and attitudes shift through time. We discuss both completed and ongoing work analyzing tourist transportation to and within protected areas in the Swedish mountains by examining early access to national parks, changing tourist attitudes toward infrastructure and transportation, and future alternative transportation systems. A literature review shows tourism and railways were essential in establishing national parks in the early twentieth century, while similarities and differences were found between Sweden's park history and that of other countries. The themes of natural landscapes and wilderness remain common in environmental politics despite the onset of changes to meet other demands. Recent studies show increased importance of infrastructure and facilities for park visitors. Longitudinal data from protected areas in northern Sweden reveal that accessibility (trails, busses and flight connections) and facilities are increasingly important for back-country hikers. Furthermore, the study indicates growing acceptance of helicopter traffic and road construction even within protected areas themselves. Contemporary protected area and park policy are often encouraged to contribute to regional development; to attract tourists these areas face a challenge to meet the demand of easy access and high quality conveniences, and at the same time protect environmental values. We discuss possible implications of the changes found and future initiatives including more environment-friendly transportation practices to and within recreational and protected areas.