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Legitimation Struggles in National Park Spaces: The Banff Bow Valley Round Table

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This paper presents an in-depth analysis of a multi-stakeholder process, the Banff Bow Valley Round Table (BBVRT) convened by a federally appointed task force in 1995 to provide public input and participation in the Banff Bow Valley Study (BBVS). The purpose of this initiative was to address environmental concerns and conflict over governance, development and growth in Banff National Park, Canada. A key finding from the analysis discussed in this paper is how various participants struggled for legitimation at the negotiation table, and how the discourses of science and instrumental reason served to empower certain interests and agendas in the process. While the discursive appropriation of ecological science enabled some interests to dominate and to legitimize their concerns, this strategy may have intangible and costly consequences for consensus-based processes and for society overall. Analysis of these discursive struggles demonstrates the challenge of bringing ecology and the general public to the same negotiating table in a meaningful way. It shows the conflicting roles and identities of environmental groups who aspire to re-present nature (as a stakeholder) at the negotiating table. Recommendations for multi-stakeholder processes in planning and governance of national parks are presented, along with social implications in the context of historic human-environment dualism and conflict.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: TAMU 2261, Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2261, USA. [email protected] Box 61201, Kensigton PO, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4S6. E-mail: [email protected]

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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