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National Parks By Rachael Dean What are they? “A National Park is a reserve of land, usually owned by a national government, which is protected from most human development.” The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is an international organisation dedicated to natural resource conservation and National Parks come under category 2 of IUCN standards. What is Category II? This category states that a National Park is a natural area of land and/or sea, designated to: 1. Protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for future generations 2. Exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area 3. Provide a foundation for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational, and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible Some countries also designate sites of special cultural, scientific or historical importance as national parks, or as special entities within their national park systems. Other countries use a different scheme for historical site preservation. Some of these sites are awarded the title World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. In the beginning… It was the English poet William Wordsworth in 1810 who described the Lake District as… “a sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy” However, is was the Scottish-American naturalist John Muir who proved inspirational in the foundation of national parks, anticipating many ideas of conservationism, environmentalism, and the animal rights movement. Where are they? National parks are usually located in places which have been largely undeveloped, and often feature areas with exceptional native animals, plants and ecosystems (particularly endangered examples of such), biodiversity, or unusual geological features. Occasionally, national parks are declared in developed areas with the goal of returning the area to resemble its original state as closely as possible. Main Aims Most National Parks have a dual role as offering a refuge for wildlife as well as being popular tourist destinations. However…managing the conflict between these two roles can become problematic... Problems Parks can be reserves for substantial natural resources, such as timber and minerals. The balance of the demand for extraction of these resources, against the damage this might cause, is often a very important challenge in national park management. Some National parks have been subject to illegal logging and other exploitation, sometimes because of political corruption. This threatens the integrity of many valuable habitats. Case Study: The Lake District The Lake District National Park is one of twelve National Parks in the United Kingdom. As you can see from the map, The Lake District is situated in North-West England. In more detail… The Lake District lies entirely within Cumbria and is one of England’s few mountainous regions as well as including 15 lakes, which is why it attracts a large number of visitors History The Lakes, as the region is also known, were made famous during the early 19th Century by the poetry and writings of William The park covers Wordsworth and the 230,000 ha of Lake Poets. land and is dominated by formations left by the last Ice Age. Landscapes The Lake District hosts a very wide variety of landscapes including… Industry Historically, farming, particularly sheep farming was the major industry in this region. Another major lakeland industry was the mining of copper, lead, barite, graphite and slate from the 16th to the 19th century. However, tourism has now grown rapidly and become the area’s primary source of income. Tourist Information Facts & Figures The Lake District National Park was created by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and came into being on 15 August 1951 There are over 200 The Lake District National people who work for the Park attracts over 12 Lake District National million visitors every year. Park Authority including Britain’s National Parks are rangers, advisors in visitor funded directly from centres, forestry & estate government grants via teams, ecologists, DEFRA and don’t receive archaeologists, admin funding from council tax staff and volunteers. or other local taxes. Costs The Lake District National Park Authority’s overall spending for 2006/2007 is £7.4 million - £176 for every person living in the region or 62 pence for every visitor. £6.3 million of this comes from a grant from DEFRA and about a third of income comes from trading activities like car parking, planning application fees and sales at information centres. Purposes of the Authority The Lake District National Park Authority was established in 1951. As set out in the Environment Act 1995, it’s statutory purposes are… 1. To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park 2. To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Park by the public 3. To seek to foster the economic and social well being of local communities within the park by working closely with the agencies and local authorities. The Legal Bit Section 62 of the Environment Act 1995 makes it clear that if National park purposes are in conflict the conservation must have priority This is known as the… The Sandford Principle This principle stems from the Sandford’s Committee’s recommendation, in 1974 that… “Enjoyment of national Parks shall be in a manner and by such means as will leave their natural beauty unimpaired for the enjoyment of this and future generations” Attractions As spring approaches the lake District comes alive with a variety of flowering plants including… For the children or young at heart there’s a large adventure playground at Brockhole visitor centre There’s also an eco centre where visitor s are encourages to help the environment. Coniston Boating Centre also proves to be a popular visitor attraction with regular lake cruises and other water sports on offer. Facilities There are plenty of parking facilities available around the park where you can leave your car too explore the Park on foot, by bike or even by boat. The park is also accessible to all and there are over 20 “Miles Without Stiles” routes for easy pushchair and wheelchair access. Information centres are also a good source to help you get around and enjoy your stay as much as possible. Pressures… With over 12 million visitors attracted to the area every year, there are obviously going to be certain pressures. People are the biggest threat to areas like the Lake District as they can… Management If these problems weren’t controlled, the area would lose it’s natural beauty, so this is where the work of the Lake District National Park Authority comes in. They have to follow what is known at the National Park Management Plan which is a national strategy used in all UK national Parks and include rules and regulations on everything to do with the park from the Historic environment to traffic and transport. Tree Preservation The Authority protects important trees through tree preservation orders which make it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot or wilfully damage or destroy any tree without permission. Sustainable Development Sustainable development is based on the idea that the quality of people’s lives and the state of our communities is affected by a combination of economic, social and environmental factors. The sustainable development fund is a grant scheme from DEFRA which helps towards any ideas that increase the understanding and enjoyment of the Lake District. How to help… Visitors can help the sustainable development fund by simply… •Buying local produce and make use of local services and shops •Car share to work •Use water sparingly •Choose products with less packaging, therefore creating less waste •Re-use paper and plastic carrier bags where possible •Use low-energy light bulbs which last longer •Use recycled products wherever possible •Use natural alternatives to artificial chemicals on your garden, and don't use pesticides Rangers The Ranger team provides a countryside management service for the community by… •Contact with residents, visitors, interest groups, parish and district councils and other organisations •Links between the community and other specialists in the LDNPA •Rights of Way monitoring, management and protection •Implementation of conservation projects •Practical land management •Lake monitoring byelaw enforcement and management •Visitor and recreation management •Work with the Lake District Volunteers Service Fact & Figure Summary There are a total The Lake’s The lake’s of 22,930 highest peak is deepest lake is dwelling within Scafell pike at Wastwater at the Lake District 978m (a.s.l.) 74m. 89% of There are 1740 listed buildings and visitors to the structures and Lakes arrive 21 Conservation Areas covering by car historic towns and villages There are over 6000 known The Lake District is archaeological sites and England's largest monuments dating from National Park covering prehistory to World War II. 885 square miles.
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