Recreation : Management : Tools : Importance of good communication

The importance of good communication to managing recreation

The success of a management technique, whether it is voluntary or regulatory, is likely to be related to how effectively its messages are communicated to the target audience. Effective communication can provide the opportunity for groups and individuals with an interest in the marine environment and /or recreation to:

learn about each others’ views on issues of mutual interest

exchange information and ideas

contribute to the development of management initiatives

Often it can be difficult to access information regarding other organisations in the local area. In particular, there are rarely any established consultation databases for site specific areas.

1. Who’s Who in the Solway

At a seminar in June 1994, a wide range of organisations were invited to the Solway Firth partnership to air their views and concerns about the Firth. Common concerns were expressed over the lack of opportunity for many different interests to exchange information and communicate with each other on a regular basis. In response, the Solway Firth Partnership produced a guide listing many of the organisations likely to have a view about how the Firth should be managed. The aim of Who’s Who in the Solway was to:

  • make clear the roles, responsibilities and activities of the many organisations working in the Firth
  • identify up-to-date information on any particular aspect of the Firth
  • provide the general public with an informative guide to the managers, planners and users of the Firth and where to go for information and advice
  • provide a checklist of organisations whose knowledge or skills may be sought during the preparation and implementation of the Solway Firth Strategy

encourage individuals and organisations to network, exchange information and to collaborate more effectively.

2. Port of Plymouth Water Events Diary and Handbook

Published by the Queens Harbour Master, this guide has a calendar of all sailing and water events for the year and also highlights bylaws and speed restrictions in the area. In addition it provides information on the structure of the estuary management process together with the purpose and objectives of SAC management. It also provides useful telephone numbers and information concerned with local navigation.

The development and provision of guides, such as those highlighted in the boxes is an excellent way of promoting and supporting the exchange of information on management

schemes, particularly in those areas which encapsulate a wide range of human activities.

Developing a Communications Strategy

A number of methods can be used to communicate environmental and management messages to recreational participants. These methods will vary depending on the profile of the recreational group in question. One of the most important considerations is whether or not participants are members of national organisations and/or local clubs. If this is the case, such associations can be used as direct links with recreational participants to spread management messages.

However, the majority of recreational participants, particularly those who participate in informal activities such as walking or cycling, may well be very difficult to reach through conventional channels. This is also the case for some of the watersport activities which occur in European marine sites, particularly those undertaken by a younger audience who are less likely to be associated with particular clubs, for example, windsurfing or personal water crafting. These ‘individual’ sports need particular attention when drawing up a communications strategy.


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