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WSL surveys show: Recreational forest conflicts successfully resolved

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More and more people live in periurban areas. This has led to greater pressure from recreation-seekers on the forests close to the city. Conflicts sometimes develop among different groups of visitors, as happened in the Üetliberg Forest, where until 2005 hikers and mountain bikers were increasingly getting in each other’s way.

As a measure to deal with the conflict, the City of Zürich 2005 built a bike trail to keep the bikers on a separate route. WSL carried out surveys on the Üetliberg before and after it was constructed. The results show that the trail helped to defuse the conflicts between the hikers and the bikers. This was confirmed by the third survey WSL carried out in 2017: Visitors’ satisfaction with the time they spent in the Forest was even greater than eleven years previously. In particular, being disturbed by bikers was mentioned less frequently even though more of them were using the Forest. The measures taken also continued to be viewed positively. Only the ban on transporting bikes on the Üetliberg Railway was rated significantly worse than in 2006. The bikers moreover said that sometimes too many of them were using the trail, and the advanced bikers wanted more challenging trails. The downhill bikers could not, however, be interviewed because the bike-­transport ban has led to them no longer using the Üetliberg much. The overall satisfaction of the visitors with the situation on the Üetliberg could also be connected with the lack of responses from downhill bikers. Nevertheless, WSL’s evaluation has shown that the measures taken have been successful. (Reinhard Lässig, Diagonal 1/18)