Management and local participation : a comparison of Kosterhavet National Park and Ytre Hvaler National Park
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Kosterhavet National Park and Ytre Hvaler National Park is situated across the border to eachother in the south of Sweden and Norway. The parks were established ten years ago, and has from the beginning had a strong focus on involving local participation in their management strategies. The purpose of this thesis is to examine and compare how local participation has taken place in Kosterhavet and Ytre Hvaler National Parks, and to try to understand if this has had an impact of the effectiveness of the park. The study is performed using qualitative methods. Eleven semi-structured interviews were performed in the parks on stakeholders and managers. The stakeholders identified was cabin owners, farmers, fishers, and tourism actors, along with managers. In the establishment of the park, several stakeholders were sceptical to the parks. In both countries, fishers were the most sceptical. These worries were eased through informational meetings and specific meetings for stakeholders. This cooperation has continued throughout the lifespan of the parks. The participants are satisfied with their level of involvement and thinks that the park management is easy to cooperate with. The managers also believe that the participation works well. A local governance structure is seen as one of the most important aspects of why participation has worked well within the parks. The local structure makes it possible to build good personal relationships between management and stakeholders. This allows for a level of trust between actors, which again leads to the parks having high level of legitimacy among the local population. The main differences between the parks are found in the establishment process and in the level of participation that has been achieved. Kosterhavet was wanted among local inhabitants, as a way to bring tourists and income to the area. Ytre Hvaler National Park was decided by the government, and had no local support at the beginning. The management of Kosterhavet National Park has higher degree of local participation, with locals being part of the decision-making board in the park. In Ytre Hvaler, the same level of participation has not been achieved. The main findings of this study is that involvement and participation brings on high levels of trust and legitimacy, and that this is important for how positively local populations view a protected area.