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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

Studies of the modern-day Chinese park system invite us to examine ecotourism trends, resource management, and economic development as extensions of government policy goals (Wang and Yang, 1999; Ryan and Huimin, 2009; Wang and Bramwell, 2012). However, such studies often only focus on national-level parks and do not distinguish between the various types of Chinese parks on the basis of historical presence or lack of human activity in the park area. In order to fully understand the cultural, environmental, and economic impacts of the Chinese park system, we must examine the historical basis for and the cultural implications of the founding of these parks. Reflecting on nine parks in Sichuan Province, this paper suggests ways in which the differentiation of parks within the modern-day Chinese park system has influenced conservation and economic goals, culture, and tourism. How are government conservation priorities conveyed to local communities, and how are the ways in which local people and tourists engage with the environment affected by the establishment of these parks? Additionally, has the establishment of these parks and the resulting influx of tourism helped or hindered local communities, as well as conservation efforts? With the establishment of a completely re-designed Chinese National Park System in 2020, understanding the interplay between these factors is essential in evaluating the effectiveness of the new system.

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