Support for National Parks Queensland – National Parks Association of Queensland

Support for National Parks Queensland

Author: P. Bjurstoem, T. Dennis, J. McAuley

The following is a summary of a report submitted to Bond University by the authors as part of a collaborative research project between Bond University and NPAQ.

The below article delves into public perceptions and behaviours toward Queensland’s national parks. Through a combination of qualitative interviews, observational data, and quantitative surveys, we uncovered a nuanced landscape challenging assumptions about support levels.

Demographic profiling revealed diverse respondent bases, with geographic concentration in areas like the greater Gold Coast region.

Awareness emerged as crucial, with higher perceived awareness correlating with increased park visits and favourable perceptions.

Scenery proved to be the primary motivation for park visits, suggesting targeted promotional efforts aligned with respondent preferences. Conversely, barriers to visitation included issues like rubbish, poor mobile network connection, and long travel times, highlighting areas for improvement.

Surprisingly, a positive correlation emerged between travel time and financial contributions, suggesting a link between commitment and support.

While the study offers rich insights, limitations such as sample size constraints and potential biases underscore the need for future research to ensure broader generalisability.

Research Objectives

The investigation aims to uncover the reasons behind the diverse attitudes of Queenslanders toward national parks through key research objectives. These objectives include assessing the level of support for national parks, identifying supporters and non-supporters, understanding their motivations, and exploring factors that may encourage or discourage support.

Additionally, the correlation between visiting national parks and supporting them will be examined quantitatively.

Interview results

The interview questions asked aimed to gauge respondents’ opinions and level of support for national parks. Participants, mostly around 31 years old, had limited knowledge of national parks, though all had heard of them and visited at least once.

Most had not explored parks outside Queensland. Surprisingly, many believed they had donated to park organisations, showing support despite limited awareness.

Perceptions of park popularity varied, with some viewing them as more attractive to tourists.

Strengths included natural beauty, while accessibility issues and lack of amenities were common weaknesses. Participants recommended better marketing and family-oriented activities. Safety and cleanliness were seen as priorities.


What level of support/non-support is there for national parks?

Chart 1 (below) showcases Q8 of the survey and the willingness to Travel to a National Park. This willingness was expressed in minutes of travel time. Here we can see a clear trend.

The highest density of responses lies within the 50- 100 and 100-150 minute density columns. This shows us that most respondents are willing to travel between 50 to 150 minutes to reach a National Park. To have a more evenly distributed graph, we did not include responses which were significantly over 350 minutes.

Chart 2 displays the results of question 14 in the form of a simple frequency diagram. Here we can see a clear trend. Over 91% of the respondents have never made a financial donation to a national park.

In addition to this simple bar chart, we attempted to correlate Q17 (Have you ever made a financial donation to a National Park?) and Q7 (Number of Visits made to a National Park in the last year). We argued that having visited a National Park might have a positive impact on the likelihood of donating.

Who are the supporters/non-supporters of national parks?

The survey revealed a balanced gender distribution, with around 47% female and 53% male respondents. Over 91% of respondents fell into the 18-28 age range, mainly comprised of students from Bond University. Despite this, the employment status was evenly distributed among respondents, indicating active employment among the young demographic.

Nearly all respondents resided in Queensland, with a concentration in the greater Gold Coast region, particularly in areas like Robina, Broadbeach, and Surfers Paradise.

Why do they support/not support national parks?

Higher perceived awareness by respondents is associated with 1) increased park visitation and 2) a more favourable perception of parks’ popularity.

What would encourage Queenslanders to support national parks?

respondents were asked to rank four different motivations (scenery, wildlife, other activities, and hiking) in order with position 1 being the most influential on park visits and 4 being the least influential.

The below chart shows that scenery was a very common reason for them visiting the national parks (lower mean score shows higher ranking).

What would discourage Queenslanders from supporting national parks?

Survey participants were given the following options to rank, rubbish, long travel time, bad mobile network connection, and bad track maintenance. When analysing the bar graph (below), it is evident that there is once again a dominant factor that is dissuading people from visiting national parks – rubbish (lower mean score shows higher ranking).

What correlation, if any, is there between visiting national parks and supporting national parks?

There was seen to be a potential link between the commitment of time to get to a national park and the sense of support or attachment to national parks.

One interpretation of this correlation could be that individuals who are willing to dedicate a considerable amount of time to reach a national park may possess a deeper appreciation or commitment to the conservation cause. The act of making a financial donation could be an expression of this heightened connection, viewing the investment of time and money as a holistic contribution toward the preservation of these natural spaces.

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