Mount Seymour Provincial Park is a recreation and nature park located approximately 15 km north of downtown Vancouver. The park is 35 km2, contains 2 biogeoclimatic zones (coastal western hemlock and mountain hemlock), and is home to many species, including black bears, deer, coyotes, old-growth Douglas-fir and red cedar (“BC Parks,” n.d.). Given its proximity to the major urban center that is downtown Vancouver, Mount Seymour Provincial Park saw over 1.4 million visitors between 2014 and 2015 (BC Parks Statistics Report, n.d.). These visitors are attracted to a variety of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, camping, mountain biking, fishing, and horseback riding. Figure 1 shows the extent of the park land in relation to the surrounding area, including North Vancouver, and the Mount Seymour Resort, a ski lodge and recreation resort on the southwest edge of the park.
As a nature park with a high visitor base, Mount Seymour Provincial Park makes an ideal location for developing a model of ecotourism sustainability based on a GIS-derived ESI and geotagged data. While it is estimated that only 5 percent of social media users turn on their location settings (Sloan and Morgan, 2015), which is required for retrieving a geotag, Mount Seymour Provincial Park has a high enough visitor base to generate adequate data for statistical analysis. Though it is not a strict conservation park with protections and areas of ‘pristine’ ecosystems, Mount Seymour is still a nature park and can serve as a model for other, less popular parks where ecosystems are protected and social media data may be lacking. Thus, research into the movements of tourists via geotagged social media data across park landscapes is a crucial part of conservation efforts and keeping policy-makers informed.
Figure 1. Mount Seymour Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada.