August 22: Helping to conserve Britain’s beautiful National Parks

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From: Mark Corner, chairman elect, Yorkshire Dales Society.

TOGETHER with hundreds of others across England, I had the pleasure on Saturday of walking in a National Park in support of the campaign to stop the cuts to their funding and to make sure National Park Authorities have enough money to conserve our most iconic landscapes for future generations.

The event was jointly organised by the campaign group 38 Degrees and the Campaign for National Parks to draw attention to the impact of the 40 per cent budget cuts that park authorities have been subject to over the last five years, with the threat of more to come.

In the case of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, these cuts have resulted in a 25 per cent reduction in staff and the consequent impact on services such as footpath maintenance, visitor management, car parks and toilets, education and outreach.

The walk I joined around Ribblehead was organised and led superbly by the Yorkshire Dales guides and enjoyed by over 70 participants of all ages and backgrounds. Some were familiar with the area and were lending their support to help keep what they know and love for future generations.

Others had never been in the Dales before and it was a privilege to see how inspiring they found the experience and a reminder of how fortunate we are who live here.

I believe that we’re all aware of the pressure on public funds but these national assets, including our own Yorkshire Dales National Park, need to be supported with sufficient resources to make sure they continue to deliver important environmental, social, economic and cultural benefits to the nation.

From: Indrani Sigamany, McHugh Court, York.

I ATTENDED the Yorkshire Dales “I love National Parks Day”.

It was really beautiful, and a privilege to be able to be part of the beauty of the wilderness.

It was part if a nationwide campaign to protect English wild spaces from threats such as government cuts and fracking. Some of the trails are no longer maintained in the Parks, visitor centres are being shut, flood protection funding is being cut, and in general the wilderness is being allowed to degenerate.

The campaign is a statement by the public of how valuable parks are to our fragile ecosystem. At the Yorkshire Dales, so many people attended that they had to split us up into about four groups. This is proof of the public’s support, which should not be disregarded.