People participation in natural outdoors recreation activities and its influences on the conservation of natural environment in south-west Nigeria
Natural outdoor recreation exercise is not new in Nigeria. However, there is little focus on how these natural outdoor recreations have been developed, managed and use by people. This study was thus carried out to provide information on the appraisal of natural outdoor recreation centres with a view to identifying factor that are critical to development of outdoor recreation in Nigeria. Survey, questionnaire and observation methods were used to collect relevant data. Two hundred and seventy (270) questionnaires were randomly administered with forty-five per each centre. Two hundred and fifty questionnaires were eventually retrieved and analysed. Findings showed that the visitors engage actively in seven out of ten natural recreational activities examined in the study area (one of these recreations was performed by visitor. Sport fishing, swimming, boat cruising and sunbathing. Also, Picnicking, trail walking and bird watching were practice). While the other three natural outdoor recreational activities (hunting, wilderness relaxation and mountain climbing) were not observed in the course of this research. The study revealed that control hunting was not considered as recreation exercise by people, likewise wilderness relaxation and mountain climbing was used more for religious/spiritual purposes than recreation. Sixty-Four (64.0) % of the visitors to natural outdoor recreation sites are willing to revisit if the opportunity arises. Also, 45.2% of the visitors agreed to motivate others to have an experience of natural outdoor activities. Seventy-Eight (78.0) % of the visitors claimed to be satisfied with experience acquired in recreation centres. Furthermore, 87.2% of the visitors were of the view that charges in the centres are modest. In addition, 70.0% of the visitors believe natural outdoor recreation in the south-west of the country needs intra-regional cooperation with other part of the country for comprehensive development. Moreover, only 30.8% of the respondents believe that the public are well informed of natural outdoor recreation. Lastly, 26.0% of the visitors had visited natural outdoor recreation outside South-West before. These identified benefits of Natural Outdoors Recreational in the course of the study are investment promotion, employment, urban aesthetic, healthy livings and improve tourism businesses. Also, factors preventing people from partaking in natural outdoors recreational were work hours, lack of personal motivation, poor outdoor recreational planning, inadequate sensitisation and insufficient infrastructural facilities in natural outdoor centres.Governments should open-up new natural outdoor recreation centres to augment medical service in improving life span of the citizen. Vigorous sensitization is a step in bringing natural environment close to the people; also the people should be encouraged to form the culture of spending their leave / pastime in natural outdoor recreations. Lastly, modern ways of living has several challenges for survival which are detrimental to well-being of man. People involvement in natural outdoor recreation has potential of reducing to the minimum the hazard associated with rigour of life.
Keyword: natural outdoor recreation, south-west, visitors