Discussion document on National Marine Parks

The Blue Marine Foundation has recently published a report which considers the idea of National Marine Parks in the UK, and sets out proposals for how they might be established using local partnership models which build on current environmental protection designations.

Map of current landscape designations around the UK.
Current landscape designations highlighted in report (Blue Marine Foundation)

The report recognises the opportunities which the pandemic has brought around raised recognition of environmental issues, and the opportunities which communities have with connecting or re-connecting in enhanced ways with the natural environment to promote wellbeing and generate sustainable economic benefits.

The report also highlights the relatively limited connections which many coastal communities have with management of the blue resource adjacent to them currently, and flags Plymouth Sound National Marine Park as a potential management model for increasing and widening stakeholder engagement in dynamic ways. It also highlights success of the World Heritage Site designation for the Jurassic Coast, generating £111 million annually for the economies of Dorset and Devon.

Recognition is made of the deep heritage connections which coastal communities have with the sea, and the proposed sites for National Marine Parks build on the distinct natural and cultural characteristics of these locations around the country.

The labelling of an area brings recognition and discussion, and the report’s proposals for National Marine Parks is an intriguing prospect which I hope will gain traction.

Sector knowledge: Managing Sport & Leisure

Journal cover imageJournal Summary: Managing Sport and Leisure (formerly known as Managing Leisure) publishes research articles to inform and stimulate discussions relevant to sport and leisure management globally. The journal is committed to publishing research that advances understanding of the practice of sport and leisure management in the public, voluntary and commercial sectors, internationally. It will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in contemporary sport and leisure management issues, including academics, managers, consultants, politicians and students.

One of the key objectives of the journal is to provide a high level forum for communication between academics and practitioners of sport and leisure. Therefore Managing Sport and Leisure aims to be contemporary, integrated and, most importantly, relevant to practitioner training. Contributions are welcome and expected from both academics and practitioners throughout the international sport and leisure management community. In addition, the journal welcomes submissions from those investigating new and innovative areas of research and practice in sport and leisure management.

Publisher: Routledge
Access: Subscription; some open access
Journal Type: Academic peer reviewed

Academic journals: Journal of Park and Recreation Administration

Journal summary: The Journal of Park and Recreation Administration (JPRA) is the official publication of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. The Academy is an organization of distinguished practitioners and scholars committed to the advancement of park and recreation administration. The Journal was established by the Academy to bridge the gap between research and practice for administration, educators, consultants, and researchers.
One of the leading journals in the park and recreation industry, JPRA was launched in 1983 to encourage scholarly research and the advancement of knowledge for best management practices and delivery services. JPRA provides a forum for the analysis of management and organization of the delivery of park, recreation, and leisure services. JPRA will publish distinguished original manuscripts that will accomplish the following:
– move theoretical management concepts forward in the field of park and recreation administration
– provide clear implications of theory and research for problem solving and action in park and recreation organizations.

Publisher: Sagamore

Website: https://js.sagamorepub.com/jpra

Access: Subscription; some open access

Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed

Branding the beauty – red chair moments from Parks Canada

In a nod to the shift from the experience to transformative economy in site management and interpretation, Parks Canada has been placing red chairs in scenic locations around its National Parks. These are designed to not only provide a passive viewpoint experience of natural heritage and landscape, but also generate a proactive sense of adventure in the visitor (the transformative bit) who is encouraged to seek out the locations where the benches have been placed.

The programme has been running for around three years, having started in Gros Morne National Park and has featured in social media and advertising across the country, with each Park taking its own approach to promotion.  The hashtags #ShareTheChair and #TimeToConnect hook in to the idea of shared outdoor experience and connecting with nature to bring about wider wellbeing.

The chairs themselves have heritage background, built in the Adirondack or Muskoka style, are bright red and carry the Parks Canada organisational logo.  The chairs can also be bought from the Parks Canada website (children and adult sizes available).

It is an interesting approach by the organisation, though has attracted some criticism – but as a site intervention of experiential design which incorporates a call to action, heritage, branding, visual stimulus, and landscape interpretation, it is effective.  I hope to capture my own red chair moments in the next month and will no doubt participate in #ShareTheChair as I encourage a couple of teenagers to disconnect from their phones for a moment.

In the UK, we have seen smaller scale equivalents at individual sites with National Trust branded deckchairs, and very subtly branded picnic benches at English Heritage sites.