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National Park appeal for outdoor forum members

Posted 16 October 2012
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National Park appeal for outdoor forum members
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Members of the public have a chance to put themselves in a position of influence to improve access in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The national park authority has revealed new members are needed for the independent Yorkshire Dales Access Forum, which has the role of tackling issues those who love to go walking in the area will be concerned with.

Access development officer for the authority Rachel Briggs said: "The forum has the job of working with individuals and organisations that use the 680 square miles of the National Park for leisure and enjoyment and advising on ways to improve their visits to this special place.

"This can be anything from suggesting the upgrade of a specific footpath to looking at mobility issues."

She noted the members can also be involved with consulatations on plans and documents arising from bodies at local or national levels, with the group meeting three or four times a year.

Vice chair of the forum David Gibson noted it is "vital" that a wide range of interests are represented in the group, as it also includes people like landowners, local businesses and the leisure sector, so a good balance is needed to "avoid conflict" between recreational land users and those who live and work off it.

Those wanting to join the panel need to submit their application forms to the national park authority by November 19th.

It could be a particularly exciting time for people to be involved with issues of access and recreation in the national park, as a decision is awaited from the government on the possible extension of its boundaries.

Should these additions take place, the centre of the park will move westward towards the Lake District, with one area covering Leck Fell and other parts of former Lancashire around the Lune Valley and Kirkby Lonsdale.

There would also be an addition to the north-west comprising the northern Howgills,  the Orton Fells and Wild Boar Fell, with the principle behind the proposed new boundaries being to include all worthy land, rather than them being constrained by obsolete county boundaries, since much of the national park has been in Cumbria since 1974.

These areas were left out of the original national park in 1952 because they lay in Westmorland at the time, rather than Yorkshire.