One of the primary reasons people visited Whitewater Beach was to experience quiet, peacefulness, solitude and escape routine. Noise has been found to relate to undesirable sounds of arbitration, and to have strong effects on solitude and tranquility (Mace et al. 1999). When sounds are deemed inappropriate for a given area, noise will then be considered annoying and most likely detract from people’s experiences and enjoyment of nature.
Hamilton (1999) found that watercraft decibel levels at Whitewater Beach were much lower than those obtained for aircraft, suggesting that aircraft have a greater sound impact. The negative influence of noise from aircraft activity and visitation by watercraft was not evident in the responses of visitors to Whitewater Beach. Hamiltonians (1999) data also showed that the least impacted site was Setting 2 in terms of frequency of aircraft events, whilst the most impacted settings were the Moderate Use (Setting 3) and Natural zones (Setting 5).
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Setting 2 was the most visited destination by respondents in this investigation. Findings however, showed no differences in perceptions of aircraft activity and the eating visited. The primary implications for management are simple. If managers wish to provide a sustainable resource that meets users’ expectations, the biophysical and social environment of Whitewater Beach must be well cared for (Shafer et al. 1998).
It was evident from findings that post- visitation images and experiences related specifically to the condition and quality of the natural Whitewater Beach environment and the psychological/physiological experiences subsequently provided. What this study also found was that visitors differed in the types of experiences ‘benefit packages’ they received, yet perceived different conditions in similar ways. These experiences and evaluations indicate that there are a spectrum of ways to experience Whitewater Beach.
This type of information assists planners in developing an experience based approach to designating use (types and amounts) and selecting indicators in a LACK process. The current zoning plan provisions of Whitewater Beach that designates levels of use, types of use, level of development and methods of access can be further defined to provide a range of opportunities to tit different experiences sought by the visitor while helping to protect the biophysical environment.
Despite this high use, visitors’ experiences were still very much influenced by the natural components of the (Natural setting); an area of high cultural and biological value. Current zoning plans help to protect these unique attributes of Hill Inlet whilst allowing people to experience solitude in a pristine environment. Natural tides also assist in making this Inlet a self-managed area. Planners should continue to acknowledge that these settings provide opportunities for a spectrum of experiences at Whitewater Bay. AUTHOR : Jane Armory and Scott Shafer