LAKES TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN UTENA COUNTY
Research background.The biodiversity of lakes makesthem important as natural resource fortourism. Lakes all over the world are used as a resource for ecotourism, natural tourism, leisure tourism andtheyattract millions of tourists. The useof lakes for sports, entertainment, swimming, fishing,etc.is of greatimportance to the public.There are 2833 lakes larger than 0.5 ha in Lithuania. Utena County has 35% shareof all Lithuanian lakes larger than 0.5 ha. So this is a very important region of lake
... tant region of lake tourism development inLithuania.Researchaim.The object of the researchisbigger than 0.5 ha lakes of UtenaCounty, and theresearchaim is to analyse lake tourism development in Utena County.Methods.Scientific literature, web sites, legislation on lake tourism and recreational activities on thelakes and in the lakeshore, ArcGis software programme were used as references for writing the article.There are 1001 lakes, bigger than 0.5 ha, in UtenaCounty. Since thereare a great number of lakes, inorder to distinguish their patterns, lakes were grouped into 7 area classes: 0.5–1 ha; 1.1–5 ha; 5.1–10 ha;10.1–50 ha; 50.1–100 ha; 100.1–500 ha; >500 ha. Articles distinguish the most important criteria of lakestourism development: lakes morphometric parameters, lakes accessibility of roads, landscape structure oflakes. The marphometric parameters, used in the present paper, were taken from the Catalogue of LithuaniaSSR lakes (1964), while bathymetric parameters were taken from list with bathymetric data (1964). Todetermine the accessibility of lakes, ArcGis10 software was used. It was worked with GDB10LT database(updated in January, 2008). The data of lakes was taken from layer "Areas". This layer of lakes was re-covered with layers of "Roads" and "Railways". Seeking to assess the accessibility of lakes by roads ofvarious types, search for roads was implemented at the radius of 10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 metres aroundlakes. The paper sought to determine the landscape structure of Utena County lakes. The distribution offorests, swamps, grasslands, residential areas and other landscapes in lake shores wasanalysed. Theselandscapes wereanalysedin buffers, drawn at the radius of 500 m around lakes. Forests, swamps, residentialareas and other landscapes were taken from GDB10LT layer "Locations". After drawing the buffers of500m radius around lakes, the area of forests, swamps, residential areas and other landscapes wascalculated.Results.The research data shows thatthe mostcommonlakesin UtenaCountyare small lakes, lessthan 50 hectares (881 lakes).There are 29 lakes larger than 500 ha in Lithuania. UtenaCounty has 69% shareof all Lithuanian lakes larger than 500 ha. Itisvery important for development of recreational activitiesbecause the bigger the lake–the greater the opportunity to deploy it.Utena County has 374 lakes (37%)where you can use self-propelled boating means (area more than 10 hectares) and 60 lakes (6%) (larger than200 hectares) where youcan use more high-powered boats. The water motorcycles can be used just in theAlausasLake.Based on the morphometric lake parametres–area and average depth, lakes, suitable for pikes(45% of all the lakes explored), crucians (36%) and breams, pike perches (18%) predominate.There are all types of roads near bigger than 0.5 haUtena County lakes at a distance of 500m–motorways, asphalted roads, gravelled roads, unsurfaced roads and railways. The research data shows thatgravelled roads (30% of all lakes can be reached by these roads) and unsurfaced roads (41%) predominate.There is a tendency that the bigger a lake is the greater variety of road types within a radius of 500 m it has.Forests, grasslands, populated areas and swamps are nearby the lakes of all area classes at a distanceof 500 m. With the increase of a lake area the number of lakes on the shores of which there are swamps,areas covered by grasslands increase, the number of forests decreases. Nearb the smaller lakes the biggerpercentageof the shore territory is covered with forests and other landscapes. The typical Utena district lake(>0.5 ha) in a 500 m radius from its shore will have the following landscape structure: 60% of grasslands,36% of forests, 3% of populated areas, 0.1% ofswamps and 1% of other landscapes. Thelakes near theforest are important for recreation. With the increasing size of lakes, the areas on the shores of lakes coveredby forests and grasslands also increase.Populated areas are near all bigger than 500 ha lakes and the majority of lakes of other classes. Thereare populated areas having fewer than 20 people near all the lakes bigger than 500 ha, towns are nearby 7%of such lakes.Almost 90% of UtenaCounty tourism enterprises are not further than 500 meters from thelakes. Tourism enterprises clusters are located at the lakes of Alausas, Rubikiai, Sartai.Conclusions.The research data shows that lake area, accessibility by roads and lake landscapestructure are important factorsfor lake tourism development. In large lakes there are possibilities to organizeboating with motorized or non-motorized boats, sailing, swimming, fishing, diving, etc. Recreationalactivities on large lakes are more diverseand attractive than the ones small lakes. Large lakes of UtenaCountyare better accessible of different types of road. Large lakes landscape structure is more diverse andattractive.The small UtenaCounty lakes are more suitable for the development of eco-tourismand largelake (area>50ha)–for mass tourism (just 10%of Utena County lakes).Keywords:laketourism,lakes'morphometric parameters, lakes'accessibilitybyroads, landscapestructure of lakes.