Governing Recreational Activities in Ireland: a partnership approach to sustainable tourism
van Rensburg, Thomas M.
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van Rensburg T. M., Doherty E. & Murray C. (2006) Governing Recreational Activities in Ireland: a partnership approach to sustainable tourism (Working Paper No. 0113) Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway.
In Ireland increased public access for recreation presents challenges to policy makers concerned with tourism and rural development. Recreation activities such as mountaineering, walking and cycling can contribute to the regeneration of marginalised rural areas and enhance residents' quality of life. However, de facto access to common and private farm land also generates conflicts between recreationists, landowners and government authorities. Using common pool resource theory we describe the formation and development of two partnerships in the mountains of Mourne (Northern Ireland) and the Wicklow uplands (Republic of Ireland). Our findings indicate that partnerships can reduce recreational conflicts involving complex property rights and diverse stakeholders by re-positioning incentives yet avoid changes in land ownership and property rights. Community based contracts and access agreements between the state, partnerships and landowners has lead to the adoption of new rules by walking associations, regulation enforcement and public-private investment in trail development.