2013-10-14

National Park. Closed?

Surprise View, Peak District National Park

Recent government turmoil in the USA, and the resulting national parks closure, are a good moment to think what national parks mean to us. Especially in the densely populated countries.
The Peak District National Park was the first of the 15 national parks in the United Kingdom. Here's a fragment of the Park's Management Plan :

The national park contains a variety of landscapes. To the north and east, broad open moorlands interspersed with grit stone formations are characteristic of the Dark Peak and Moorland Fringes. To the east the Derwent Valley is a varied landscape of river corridor habitats, parklands and ancient woodlands rising to open moorland dominated by grit stone edges. The White Peak to the south features elevated limestone plateaux dissected by deeply cut dales and gorges, with flower-rich grasslands of international importance. The White Peak is home to most of the Peak District’s 38,000 residents, living in a thriving network of small settlements and farmed land. The South West Peak features mixed moorland and grassland landscapes with rock outcrops.
The Peak District’s unique position at the heart of the country means that around 16 million people live within one hour’s travel time of the national park, enabling millions to easily enjoy its exceptional natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.
Throughout this plan, when we use the term landscape we do not simply mean ‘the view’. It is about the relationship between people, place and nature. It is the ever-changing backdrop to our daily lives. Landscapes are subject to constant and sometimes unpredictable forces of change in terms of both human activity, for example farming practices, and also natural processes such as weather patterns. The aim is not just to preserve a past landscape but to ensure that the special qualities which create a sense of place are both maintained and enhanced into the future. There is a need to protect our cherished landscapes whilst accommodating some changes arising from social, economic and environmental necessity.
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