Scenic Landscape Quality and Recreational Activities in Natural Forest Parks, Iran



One of the problems in forest park management, planning, and design is the tendency to consider recreation independent from aesthetic preferences and ecological objectives. This paper presents the findings of an examination of recreational activities in relation to aesthetics and ecological potentials in Siangtan Forest Park in Iran. Although protected areas constitute most of this 591 ha park, it is the most popular forest park in Iran with a high number of visitors annually. The study consists of two main sub-studies: discovering the users' aesthetic preferences based on two different techniques of visual and verbal assessments, and finding users' recreational activities according to a questionnaire and an observation study. The results showed considerable difference between places preferred for activities and those valued for scenic beauty. Moreover concentrated recreational activities often happen in places other than what has been predicted and designed for. The study also reveals that the judgments about forest parks depended on the method of assessment.