Volunteering and collaborative governance innovation in the Wadden Sea National Park

Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, Anne-Mette Hjalager, Janne Liburd, Peter Saabye Simonsen

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This study is motivated by the financial scarcity allocated by governments to nature conservation, national park maintenance and sustainable development in many parts of the world. The article explores how governance structures are transformed from a top-down, state-driven model towards a ‘third way’, with more extensive collaborative and participative structures. The willingness to volunteer in the Wadden Sea National Park in Denmark is examined in detail. The volunteers constitute a considerable labour resource. Volunteers participate in well-structured events, such as beach clean-ups and festivals, but they increasingly assist with facilities maintenance, nature restoration, citizen science activities, etc. Findings show that residents from the vicinity of the national park express the most interest, but visitors from other parts of Denmark are also willing to volunteer. This suggests a strong potential for integrating volunteering with tourist experiences and meaningful engagements with others. Advantages and disadvantages of gradual state withdrawal of protected area governance are discussed, which exposes a significant obligation to ensure that goals of protection and sustainability are aligned with volunteer engagement, which urgently calls for governance innovation in national parks.

TidsskriftCurrent Issues in Tourism
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)971-989
StatusUdgivet - 17. apr. 2020


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