Ahead of the Easter holidays Cumbria’s Local Resilience Forum is reassuring residents that plans are in place to manage the expected increase in visitor numbers to the county.
Welcoming visitors back is critically important for the county’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and in supporting people’s health and wellbeing, but local communities have understandable concerns about the impacts of very high numbers of visitors concentrated in a small number of locations.
Working together, the Lake District National Park Authority, Police, local councils and Cumbria Tourism have put in place a range of measures to improve the experience of local communities and visitors alike, including:
- Additional temporary car parks in key locations all available at saferlakes.co.uk
- New temporary campsites, from April 12 when overnight stays are permitted, to help people avoid illegal fly camping.
- Multi-agency patrols by officers from Cumbria Police, the Lake District National Park and volunteer rangers.
- New posters and signage across the National Park area.
- Temporary toilet facilities where required.
- Media and advertising campaigns to encourage people to follow the new Countryside Code and behave with respect.
- A new guide for motorhome users.
These measures are some of the activity set out in 13 area plans within the national park boundary which have been developed over recent months to support the safe return of visitors.
Cumbria’s key message for all visitors is plan ahead, try to avoid the busiest areas, treat the county with respect and of course enjoy your visit.
Andrew Slattery, Assistant Chief Constable and Chair of Cumbria Local Resilience Forum, said: “Visitors are so important to the county and it’s great to be able to start welcoming people back.
“We also know that with foreign holidays off-limits we are likely to see more people heading to Cumbria and the Lake District than ever before and that does bring challenges, both for the visitors and locals.
“We’ve been very proactive in planning for this, our area action plans are in place to help manage the problems we’ve seen previously – whether that’s parking, fly camping or the anti-social minority.
“I’m also delighted that we have over 100 Safer Lakes volunteers who will also be patrolling the park every day, helping us respond quickly to any new issues that arise.”
Lake District National Park Authority Chief Executive, Richard Leafe said: “We know how important the Lake District is going to be in the coming months to help with people’s health and wellbeing.
“Our message is whether coming for the first or 50th time, is: plan ahead, try to discover somewhere that’s new to you and enjoy your time here, but please leave no trace.
“By working together and planning ahead for the return of more people coming to the county, we’re equipped for managing potential challenges while ensuring a warm welcome to new and returning visitors.”
The Lake District National Park Authority is also recruiting a number of Welcome Volunteers to offer help and advice to visitors and are working with other National Parks and other agencies to refresh the Countryside Code so that visitors are as equipped as they can be, before they reach the park.
For more information on volunteering opportunities visit Visitor Support Volunteer : Lake District National Park.