Last summer, popular areas of the southern Dales such as Grassington, Burnsall, Linton Falls and Malham Cove saw huge increases in visitor numbers when overseas travel was restricted, and there were problems with littering, inconsiderate parking, water safety, dog control, irresponsible barbecue use, lack of adherance to the Countryside Code and general anti-social behaviour, often involving large groups of youths.
During the summer 2020 heatwaves there were two cattle trampling incidents involving dog walkers in the Dales, one of which resulted in the death of an 82-year-old man, and an 18-year-old from Bradford drowned swimming at Linton Falls during a family gathering at the river.
The National Park Authority later admitted that many of the tourists had never visited the area before. Although their age and ethnicity profiles were more diverse and welcomed by park bosses who had been trying to widen the Dales' appeal beyond traditional visitor groups, they recognised the need for more education about appropriate behaviour in the countryside and implied that more staff would be on duty at 'honeypot' locations to provide advice and assistance.
Recruitment for two new rangers on six-week contracts, which include weekend and evening shifts, has now begun. Although a team of permanent rangers work across the National Park, openings for new employees are rare.
The candidates will be expected to focus on visitor engagement work rather than tasks such as footpath repairs and tree planting, which are also undertaken by the ranger teams.
The Grassington-based roles are ideal for those who are keen on working outdoors and enjoy interacting with the public.
The seasonal rangers will cover the south of the National Park and be sent to identified 'hotspots' on busy days to run activities such as litter picking, erect signage and give safety guidance.
To apply, email area manager Kate Hilditch on email [email protected]