National Parks

Within National Parks the beauty of the landscape is preserved, the public is given access to much of the countryside; wildlife and important buildings are protected and traditional farming methods encouraged. A national parks authority (NPA) administers each National Park. National Parks contain beautiful upland scenery with hills, moors, lakes and forest, and in some, spectacular coasts. The growth of the leisure industry together with mass car ownership means that more people are visiting National Parks.

These changes have brought both opportunities and problems for these areas. They are two named examples of such similarity with this, and those are Stickle Ghyll and Tarn Hows which are two areas based in the Lake District National Park. The Lake District is situated North West of England on the coast, it is East from the Isle of Man and Ireland and it is one of the most popular national parks visited by tourists every year. It has also experienced advantages but also disadvantages and that makes it a good example to use.

Rural tourism, in National Parks, like the Lake District brings many opportunities such as money into the area from the growing number of visitors. The money is put forward to build more services to provide for the visitors needs and to get resources to handle the growing number of tourists. Also more visitors that come provide more jobs, which tend to be seasonal but popular. Roads and railways are well maintained within the Lake District and also access is made easier, which does increase the number of visitors.

The National Park is located in an area where you can access it by motorway and it’s within a good amount of travel time for everyone in the country. Communities remain alive as people stay to work locally in the area. And a rich cultural life survives as audiences are supplemented by visitors on holiday. There is a huge importance of tourism in the Lake District, as most jobs are linked with tourism. This includes retailing, catering, transport etc.

Although they are many opportunities that rural tourism brings, there are also impacts brought to the area by this development. Being in a National Park, poor local roads get crowded at peak times causing traffic congestion. 90% of the 10 million visitors come by car. Car parks fill up and grass verges are damaged by illegal parking- parking demand exceeds supply. Footpaths are eroded by the large numbers of walkers- erosion on footpaths is a continuing problem. When they are too many visitors, weekend holiday traffic prevents some local activities to take place. Bridleways become muddy with the increased number of mountain bikers and horse riders. Some settlement and sites become over crowded to the point where their attractiveness is threatened- honeypot sites. House prices rise out of the reach of local young people as second home buyers move in from the large urban areas.

Local people convert houses into holiday cottages and reduce the number available to local people. Farmers have their working land invaded by visitors causing damage to fences, crops and animals. There is a loss of privacy and considerable extra noise in the area and constant questions from fieldwork groups causing restlessness for residents. Litter dropped by the high number of tourists, can choke animals, walls are damaged and people park across field gates. Limestone pavements are worn down, animal and plant diversity suffers.

Some efforts have been made to manage these challenges. The National Park Visitor Centre and Education Service try to educate people about conservation. Litter bins have been removed and visitors seem to be learning to take their litter home. Footpaths have been reinforced and it provides alternative routes. This is a similar situation at Stickle Ghyll, were specific paths, gravel and rock boulders have been the solution to avoid erosion. In this area, they have been many causes of erosion, like the rivers, the animals. Fencing has been put up to stop animals like sheep going into vegetation areas. In this area in England, a lot of rain falls causing major erosion in some areas, with around 2000 mm a year.

Visitor pressure has been another cause of erosion. A rerouting bridge has been discovered, hard wearing boulders have been inserted and sign posting and information have been provided. An open access agreement was made by local farmers in the countryside stewardship scheme. Landowners have entered into wall maintenance agreements with English nature. Other solutions have been providing park and ride schemes on the edges of the sensitive areas.

For example, the car parks at Tarn Hows are located outside the preserved area near the minor roads or nearby footpaths for easier disabling access. Ensuring that affordable new housing is built for local people, and not for them to feel abandoned from the high impact of tourism. Focusing demand on honeypot sites and accepting they will be sacrificed for the sake of other areas. Like Tarn Hows, in seasonal months a large number of people tend to come here by the lake for recreation and during good weather it’s always tense (honeypot site). Another final solution is demanding that quarrying is landscaped during and after use.

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