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Leave No Trace

Big Shakeout 2017

Learn to Go Nice Places, Do Good Things, and leave no trace behind you

We all want to make our mark on the world, but we should try not to leave one our National Parks.

The right to roam our countryside is a precious freedom, and it's one that we haven't had for very long. These days it's hard to imagine being arrested for trespass when roaming the ramparts of Kinder, pottering about the enclosed boulders at the Roaches, or exploring the mystical standing stones of Robin Hood's Stride, but it wasn't until the establishment of the Peak District National Park in 1951 that this stopped being a reality.

The National Park Act didn't just establish our right to roam, it secured the future of areas of outstanding beauty throughout the UK by protecting them from the threat of urbanisation as towns and cities throughout the UK spread and grew. National Parks give us a means by which to preserve the best of our national heritage and minimise human impact on our landscapes.

70 years of campaigning, proposed bills, and even mass trespass on Kinder Scout gave us our first National Park - the right to roam didn't come without a struggle - but these days we tend to take them for granted. National Parks are nature's playground. They're the places we all flock to by foot, bike, campervan, or palanquin when the weekend forecast is looking good (and even when it's not); they're our favourite venue for enjoying ourselves.

However, as the park rangers will tell you, nature's playground sure needs a lot of looking after. National Park tourism hugely benefits local communities, boosting economy, employment, awareness of heritage and conservation, demand for local produce, and even public transport offerings; but thic comes with increased damage to the landscape, erosion, litter, traffic, pollution, and disturbance to landscape. Erosion, in particular, is a huge issue in the Peak District, and local National Park Authorities are tasked with managing these conflicting initiatives: encouraging people to visit and enjoy National Parks whilst ensuring that their impact on the environment is limited.

Conservation Quest with Sally Wheel, Peak District National Park

Alice Going Nice Places via anti-erosion footpaths

During the Big Shakeout Festival at Thornbridge Outdoors, you'll have the opportunity to learn more about the conservation and management of our National Park areas. The School of Adventure Conservation Quest will take place in the best classroom we could find,  Monsal Dale, with the best instructor we could find, Peak District Ranger Sally Wheel, and will offer an excellent opportunity to get to know more about local heritage, wildlife, and qualities of the area, as well as the science behind conservation.

For those of you who feel like the 22nd - 24th September is just too far away and can't handle the anticipation, here are the five ways to reduce your impact on our natural spaces, pinched from the National Park Authority's website (they take literally no time or effort, we promise!).

  1. Avoid harm to animals and the spreading of disease by taking your pasty wrappers and other rubbish home with you.
  2. Reduce erosion by sticking to footpaths and following signs.
  3. Leave gates as you find them.
  4. Ensure that the wildlife housing market isn't depleted by minimising damage to rocks and plants providing habitat.
  5. Make sure your crag dog has great manners or is on a lead.

The Conservation Quest must be booked in advance, so make sure you get yourself onto the Big Shakeout ticket page before places run out! We look forward to seeing you at there; until then we'll see you out and about, Going Nice Places, Doing Good Things, and leaving no trace.

23 06 2017

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