Coordinating MNR's Tourism Role

Written By: Don Hallman
Tourism Coordinator
Ministry of Natural Resources
Originally Published in the July 1991
issue of The Outfitter Magazine.

 

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) recognizes it has an important role to play in contributing to the achievement of government tourism objectives. MNR’s management decisions frequently affect tourism/recreation values and activities, and the ministry recognizes a need to pay greater attention to tourism objectives and effects.

To enable the ministry to participate more effectively with the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation (MTR), the lead ministry for tourism, and its client groups, it has established and staffed two new positions - Tourism Research Scientist and Tourism Coordinator.

Wolfgang Haider has been appointed Tourism Research Scientist located in MNR’s Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay. Wolfgang is a geographer specializing in economic and behavioural geography, with post-graduate degrees from two Canadian universities. His research experience has focused on the tourism/recreation field.

The Tourism Research Scientist is responsible for designing and carrying out a research program to assess the adequacy of Ontario’s Timber Management Guidelines for the Protection of Tourism Values. These guidelines are designed to protect tourism/recreation resources and accommodate tourism and recreation activities and operations, when managing forests for timber. The results of the research program will be used to modify these guidelines, as desirable, and will be incorporated into timber, management planning and operations.

Beyond this immediate purpose of assessing timber management guidelines, the research will benefit planning and managing for tourism/recreation activities by helping define tourism and recreation resource values, as well as the needs and interests of tourism/recreation clients. For example, measuring the value that guests of outfitters place on a scenic setting, or on fishing in a remote setting, undisturbed by other users, will help greatly in planning and allocating resource use appropriately for tourism and recreation purposes.

In assessing the tourism guidelines, the research will address the following questions:

This study will monitor change with respect to landscape attributes (for example, landform appearance, scenic vistas, etc…); characteristics of the visitor’s experience (such as noise, visual appeal, seclusion, fish/wildlife abundance); and economic indicators (such as return rates, costs, gross revenues, price structure, economic impacts, investor confidence). Mapping, creel censuses, questionnaires and financial analysis will be used to obtain information for the study. Timber management in the study areas will be monitored for compliance with tourism guidelines.

Monitoring in the study areas generally will be carried out over a three to five year period. Because some visual and economic impacts of timber harvesting will last longer than three to five years, these effects will be monitored for longer periods.

The ministry will be asking for the cooperation and participation of tourist operators and their guests which will be vital to the success of the research work. In the study areas, researchers will establish and maintain close contact with operators to provide for their participation and to deal with any issues associated with the project.

ROLE OF THE TOURISM COORDINATOR

Don Hallman was appointed recently as Tourism Coordinator for the ministry. His educational background is in the tourism/recreation field, and he has considerable experience in the MNR in planning, managing and research associated with tourism and recreation, particularly involving provincial parks. Prior to assuming this position, he was Research Supervisor for the provincial parks program. His office is located in the Ministry’s Corporate Policy and Planning Secretariat in Toronto (Room 6440, Whitney Block, queen’s Park, Toronto, M7A 1W3, Phone (416) 965-4143).

The Tourism Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the MNR’s contributions to tourism. There will be strong emphasis on identifying and protecting tourism/recreation resource values and managing tourism/recreation resources on a sustained basis with direct regard to the needs and interests of tourism/recreation clients, the MTR, and other ministries and agencies on tourism-related matters.

Coordinating the MNR’s tourism role will involve a number of actions:

The new emphasis will provide improved communications and more attention to tourism-related needs. It will not replace the current contacts outfitters and other clients have with Ministry staff. District staff will continue to be the immediate contacts regarding information and management issues.

The ministry believes the continuing involvement of tourist outfitters and other tourism/recreation interests will be essential if it is to contribute to tourism more effectively. Over the next few months, Don Hallman will be visiting and talking with a number of NOTO members and NOTO Executive members to become more familiar with tourist outfitting issues and needs as they relate to MNR responsibilities.

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