On users often believe they are the priority.

On
the other hand, National Parks can also provide positive impacts on the communities
who live there. The Office for National Statistics, 2011 claim that turnover,
the amount of enterprises and overall employment in tourism increased by 11%
and 44% in both rural and urban areas between 2003 and 2009.

Despite this, disputes
can occur between trail users i.e. horse riders and cyclists. This often occurs
due to path/trail width, as users often believe they are the priority. Beeton
(1999) suggests that different recreational users have differing conflicts. In
the USA, it was understood that hikers have a negative opinion of horse riders.
It was understood that 4% of horse riders dlisliked encountering hikers, but
over 36% of hikers did not like meeting riders (Watson et al, 1993).

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Despite several
environmental impacts, horse riding can provide a range of social benefits to
the public, both physically and mentally. The British Horse Society (2017) undertook
a survey, whereby 80% of people surveyed claimed that riding made them feel
“quite a lot” or “extremely” cheerful, relaxed, happy or active. This is most
likely the release of endorphins, which causes positive thoughts after
exercising. Riding can act as a meditation process, whereby people within the
BHS survey claimed that a large percentage of participants could “escape” from
real life and focus on riding. Consequently, this has then improved self
confidence and self-esteem.

Horse riding is also a known
sport that can result in the spread of invasive species. The seeds are known to
spread primarily through the animal’s hoof. Actionbioscience (2017) state that
the introduction of invasive species to a location is the second threat to
biodiversity.  If there are no predators,
invasive species can spread rapidly. Native wildlife is therefore threatened
because they lack defence techniques. Invasive species can cause death of a
native plant, for example the suffocation of trees whereby ivy (Hedera helix) covers the bark.

Soil erosion involves
the washing away of top soil with the WWF (2017) stating that there has been a
50% reduction of top soil on Earth over the past 150 years. This can result in
the washing of nutrient rich soil, consequently impacting crop yields. Reducing
nutrient levels can also influence tree species, whereby a reduction in top
soil reduces tree nutrients and impacts tree roots. Consequently, trees can
become vulnerable to uprooting. Loss of topsoil means that there is less
infiltration of water, resulting in a higher risk of flooding and greater
chance of water sources i.e. rivers and streams becoming polluted.
Subsequently, resulting in a fish decline and impact on the overall food chain.

The UK Marine Special
Area of Conservation (2017), state that horse riding can cause greater
individual ground pressure than cars and walkers. It is therefore unsurprising,
that many land owners and farmers are withdrawn to offer their land for horse
access, despite potential economic benefits.

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