Welcome back to the future
As visitors start returning to Snowdonia we need to focus on what we want the ‘new normal’ to look like.
Remember that sun-drenched weekend in March?
The one just before lockdown, when it seemed the whole world came to Snowdon to get away from it all? Those events on Snowdon and elsewhere were seen as evidence of need for the lockdown that immediately followed.
That seems like a lifetime ago now, but it’s worth pausing to think about what happened. Vast numbers of people – more than ever before – saw Snowdonia as freedom, as an escape. Something bad was coming, but the mountains were reassuring, wafting intoxicating clouds of fresh air and offering a tonic for mind, body and spirit. Those who know Snowdon in its hummingly busy summer mode may have been puzzled by the precise choices of destination, but we all understand what Snowdonia offers, especially to those who live in towns and cities.
A brand new start
Now we’re at the beginning of the end of lockdown – for now at least. Excitement and anxiety are mixing in the air for those who are able to make use of their regained freedoms.
In my village we’ve got used to the quiet. It has soaked into places which used to bustle with cars, families, walkers, dogs and ice-cream. The older people here are reminded of their childhood, when cars and strangers were much rarer. It’s natural that we are a little fearful about the return of visitors in numbers, no matter how important the ebb and flow of people is to the local economy. For all who live and work in and around Snowdonia, these sensitivities have given us so much to think about.
As many, but by no means all, people can once again travel to Snowdonia we need a new conversation about looking after our precious landscapes. National Parks are important for the country as a whole, but they are home and workplace for many too. We are all going to have to play our part. We all need to respect and care for the landscape and nature and, importantly, each other.
Small steps, big difference
So what, practically, can we do? Minimising our own impacts is the obvious place to start, in terms of how we travel, what we do, where we stay, how we shop and how we behave.
- Plan your trip – come well prepared
- Minimise your car journeys – explore on foot and by bike
- Avoid the hotspots and honeypots – find quiet places, enjoy the quiet in them
- Keep dogs on leads at all times – neither livestock nor wildlife can cope with dogs running around
- Go well-equipped on your outings so you don’t get caught out
- Take home everything you brought – every last wrapper, fruit peel, drink bottle etc
- Stay safe, tread lightly, and be kind
Our staff and volunteers are working their socks off just now, preparing for the return of people in numbers, working to make the best possible of the situation.
This is the start of a new journey. Many people are dreaming and working hard, determined that what comes next can be better than what for some of us is coming to an end. Reducing our negative impacts is just a first step to making these hopes and dreams a reality. Our work, with our partners, is more important than ever before.
One other important thing you can do, right now, is to join us as a member, or make a donation to support our work. It takes two minutes and a few clicks to help make a big difference, by giving strength and support to those who, through their work or volunteering, help to look after Snowdonia. You can become a member/supporter here and make a donation to support our work here.
Together, we can make sure that in welcoming people back to Snowdonia, we do so safely, respectfully, with newfound appreciation and an eye on the future.