Improving operational planning and management of national parks in Turkey: A case study
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The purpose this study was to improve operational planning and management of national parks in Turkey to balance conservation use and sustainable management. Soguksu National Park (SNP) was chosen as the study area. The data were obtained from interviews of 182 visitor groups (in total, 819 people) and analyzed using correlation, factor, discriminant, and regression analyses. It was found that the most important factors affecting operational planning and management of SNP are (1) travel cost, (2) visitor welfare level, (3) intensity of use, (4) size of visitor group, (5) type of recreational demand. The main source of visitors to SNP is from a zone within a 0-90-km radius. This region comprised 53.85\% of total visitors to the park. The capital of Turkey (Ankara) is the most important source of visitors from within this zone. The optimum activity mix in SNP is also determined. Picnicking, viewing the scenery, and nature walks or trekking comprised the main uses of the park. It is anticipated that these findings will help to improve operational planning and sustainable management of the national park and the environment.