New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1972) 17(1): 43–51
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry
User survey in Coromandel Forest Park
D.D. Kelly and D.A. Black
In 1970-71 a survey was carried out to assess seasonal use for recreation of the Kauaerenga Valley of the Coromandel Forest Park. A questionnaire, to be filled in and returned by post, was handed out to visiting groups on three holiday week-ends, in winter, spring and summer, and also on two "normal" weekends in spring. Sixty-two per cent, of the questionnaires were returned. Main findings about the groups were — average group per vehicle was 4.6 people, consisting of 2.9 adults and 1.7 children; 60% of groups included a child or children; almost two-thirds of the groups were short-stay visitors; one-way main road distances from home to park entrance averaged 90 km; half the groups originated from the greater Auckland area. The range of activities was generally wide and usually planned activities were accomplished; a high proportion of visitors came primarily for picnicking and sightseeing and pleasure driving, which remained constant in popularity year-round; seasonal fluctuations in activities involved mainly the increased popularity of swimming and camping in spring and summer, fishing in the season from October to May/June, and greater activity from rockhounds in summer (possibly as a result of lower water levels in streams and rivers). As regards visitors' opinions relating to the recreational development of the park, a majority urged the Forest Service to avoid commercialization; a third considered exotic stands as attractive as, or more attractive than, native bush. All but one respondent intended returning to the park. The results of the survey will help guide development.