chapter  7
14 Pages

The problem of access: outdoor leisure activities and access to private rural land


Introduction In much of the developed world, participation in outdoor leisure pursuits, such as bushwalking, camping, hunting, fishing, horse or trail-bike riding and four-wheeldriving has increased rapidly in modern life. This is largely because of greater leisure time, higher disposable incomes, increased mobility of people through improved transportation, growing international and domestic tourism, developing commercial interests, the promotion of high-risk activities, emphasis on health and fitness, and greater environmental awareness (Campion and Stephenson 2010; Pigram and Jenkins 1999: 1). However, outdoor leisure activities require access to open spaces, which is not always possible. Public spaces where people can undertake such activities, such as national parks or state forests, are in limited supply and are not always open to the general public, and those that are accessible are often subject to fees, permits and other limitations. Access to privately owned space is also limited largely by the restrictive attitudes of landowners (Pigram and Jenkins 1999: 161). The problem of pleasure as discussed in this chapter is therefore the problem of attaining access to private rural land for outdoor leisure. The discussion draws upon the findings of an Australian study which compared landholders’ attitudes towards the issue of property rights and access rights to private land for leisure pursuits with those of hunters and other recreationists.