Azara Blog: Lake District National Park Authority

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Date published: 2005/02/07

The BBC says:

Free guided walks in the Lake District will be able to continue for another year - thanks to a mystery cash donor.

Tourism chiefs wanted to stop the tours because they drew mainly "middle-aged, middle-class, white people".

But at a meeting of the Lake District National Park Authority on Monday, members were told there was "massive opposition" to the plan.

The meeting was told a mystery sponsor had come forward and pledged £38,000 to save the walks for the current year.

The meeting heard the cash would provide "breathing space" so that more research could be done on attracting other groups, especially from ethnic minorities, into the area.

The authority has been under pressure to cut costs and also to encourage visits from minority groups and the disabled.

It still faces a 9% cut to its £9m a year budget.

Who the heck are the morons who lead the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) and do they serve any purpose in life whatsoever. If you have to make budget cuts you say "we are cutting service X because we can no longer afford it", you do not say "we are cutting service X because we hate the people who use it, and bugger off all you horrid middle class people who dare to come to the Lake District". The Cumbria Tourist Board must be tearing its hair out. The British never have gotten the idea of tourism. Repeat three times: "the customer is always right". The LDNPA instead believe "the customer is always wrong".

Of course perhaps this was all a cynical ploy to gets lots of free national publicity for a little known service. Well, unfortunately it seems that the report is genuine, as the LDNPA itself says:

Forging links between Langdale and Manchester youngsters, easy to use paths for wheelchair users and car-less routes around the Lake District are all part of an innovative National Park master plan.

The final report of Open Return - a Lake District National Park Authority led research project to find ways of opening up the countryside for all - is about to be published.

Featuring nine case studies, the initiative was funded by the Countryside Agency and has included 28 organisations with Lake District interests.

The report is expected to help formulate policies for the future and is designed to benefit all visitors and residents, with a special focus on those currently under represented, such as: youth; people with limited mobility; ethnic minorities and inner-city dwellers.

NPA's access development adviser Barney Hill said he hoped Open Return would signal a new and very positive era in the countryside.

"It could lead to wider and better access for all, integrated transport, improved cycle routes and less dependency on cars, in other words, a National Park for everyone to enjoy," he said.

Three years in the making, Open Return has seen a number of inspirational schemes, such as linking children from rural Langdale with pupils from Manchester's inner-city Medlock School. Exchanges saw visits to the fells and city, with head-teachers hailing the programme "invaluable".

"Miles without stiles" looked at making paths completely user friendly for those with limited mobility, in wheelchairs, and pushing child buggies. A Broughton-in-Furness route has emerged as a prime example of what can be done.

This is definitely the kind of politically correct rubbish that only New Labour Luvvies could inflict upon the world. (Gee whiz, nine whole case studies. Well that proves it then.) Note that "a National Park for everyone to enjoy" means that most of the current visitors to the Lake District (those who take cars) can go to hell, so in fact it is really "a National Park for most everyone not to enjoy". One of the problems with the Lake District is that it is already far too manicured, and no doubt the LDPNA will not be satisfied until there is a child buggy accessible route along Striding Edge. (Don't laugh. The Green Mountain Club in Vermont had to install a wheelchair accessible toilet at one of their shelters in the middle of nowhere because of federal government regulations. Where the morons of America lead the morons of Britain are sure to follow.) And you can bet your last euro that "youth; people with limited mobility; ethnic minorities and inner-city dwellers" are not well represented on the LDNPA itself (ah, but rules are for the little people, not the rulers).

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