Examining the sociocultural effects of protected areas on local people (the case of Hatila Valley National Park)
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Künyeİnanç, S., & Ayaz, H. (2018). Examining the sociocultural effects of protected areas on local people (the case of Hatila Valley National Park). Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 27(12A), 8856-8865.
National parks are among the most efficient areas in terms of protecting natural and cultural areas that have rare beauties on earth and presenting them for the use of public. In Turkey, 40 areas have been announced as National Parks, and one of these is the Hatila Valley National Park located within the borders of the city of Artvin. Within the areas that are announced as National Park, there are local people who reside in the area along with natural sources. It has been long complained that the people living in the areas that are announced as national parks were affected negatively by this decision. In the present study, the complaints and satisfactions of the people who reside in the Hatila Valley National Park located within the borders of the city of Artvin were investigated. According to the results, it was determined that an important part of the people who were determined to be conscious about national parks thought that the announcement of an area as national park avoided investments that would otherwise disrupt the nature and was therefore beneficial in protecting the nature. However, nearly all of the people who were interviewed in the context of the study stated that they were not given the opportunity of participating in the decisions of the administrative units about announcing and operating the area as a national park and added that they were even not notified about such decisions. Again, it was also stated that the announcement of an area as national park caused that the villagers were deprived of the income that would otherwise be received by peasants with forest works; and said that the public investments were either delayed or not performed at all in the present situation. It was also complained that the wild animals living in such areas reproduced and damaged the local people and their crops in the area that were emptied due to emigrations. 37% of the people who cannot receive any incomes from national parks complained about the presence of the national parks. For the satisfaction of the people, the expectations of the executive power were mostly financial. Such people expect that an infrastructure in established within national parks, introducing these parks to more visitors with activities; and support is provided for people who want to market their products. It is also demanded that the administration delivers some of the income that comes from running the park to local people. Such demands are found to be appropriate by researchers. Another righteous expectation is granting the right to participate in decision-making processes for national parks.