Literature Review on Ecological Effects of Mountain Biking


In late 2009, Miistakis was asked to conduct a literature review for Parks Canada on current research regarding the ecological effects of mountain biking.

The Visitor Experience Branch of Parks Canada's National Office is conducting an assessment of Management Plans and other policies. Part of this assessment is an examination of the types of recreational activity that occur within Canada's National Parks, and an evaluation of the ecological effects attributable to these activities. Our literature review was commissioned in order to inform Parks Canada's discussions around the recreational ecology and ecological effects of mountain biking.

Compared to other outdoor recreational activities, there is a relative dearth of understanding and peer-reviewed scientific papers on the ecological effects of mountain biking. The original objective of this literature review was to provide a comparison of published research on the relative effects of four distinct sub-disciplines of mountain biking; however, the lack of published literature focusing on the sub-disciplines made this impossible. Therefore, the review primarily addresses cross-country riding.

The available published literature indicates that mountain biking (at least trail-based) as an anthropogenic disturbance is similar in its environmental effects as other forms of summer season trail use.

Please click on the image below to download the full report in pdf format.


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