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Blog

GNPA Posters Available

Alan Cameron

Posters to promote the Galloway National Park Association are available for downloading. The posters are in PDF format and there are two A4 size posters and one for printing at A3 size. You can download the posters here.

Minister visits Galloway

Alan Cameron

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On Tuesday 30th April the Galloway National Park Association met Mairi Gougeon, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, in Galloway following a commitment she made last January to visit the region. At the meeting we published our latest document "Galloway National Park – It’s our timesetting out the case for National Park status for Galloway. The Minister indicated that she would give this report her "fullest consideration" and stressed that she was willing to return to Galloway to discuss this at any time.

In the report the Association is calling for the Minister to commission an independent publicly-led Feasibility study into the proposal in order to examine the case in more detail.

Click here for the press release document.

A Review of National Parks!

Alan Cameron

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With the news that Michael Gove has ordered a review of National Parks in England to look at “extending existing sites or creating new sites” the campaign for more National Parks in Scotland becomes ever more important. 

Commenting on the announcement, John Thomson, Chair of the Scottish Campaign for National Parks, has pointed out that it underlines just how central National Parks are likely to be to the future of Britain’s rural areas. 

“England already has many more National Parks than Scotland (ten in all) and together with its Areas of Outstanding Beauty, which also enjoy considerable attention and resources, they cover almost 25% of its land compared to the mere 7% within our two. This existing gap already puts Scotland’s rural areas at a distinct disadvantage; if it is allowed to increase yet further the implications for them are very worrying indeed”. 

John is also a Trustee in the campaign to get National Park status for Galloway and President of Galloway National Park Association Dame Barbara Kelly added. 

“ Scotland’s rural areas are facing the prospect of serious and continuing population decline according to recent studies. We believe that a National Park with its extra powers, skills, and resources is an important way of helping to overcome this and to see the Galloway we all love become more vibrant and sustainable. If you want to become involved in the campaign, even if it is just to find out more, then come along to one of the Public Meetings we are holding during June. With eleven different venues there will be one near you” 

The Campaign has already met with over 23 different organisations and Community Councils throughout Galloway, South and East Ayrshire and support for the ideas is growing steadily. More information is available on the website, and there is a discussion document setting out some of the key issues for a National Park in Galloway. 

 

The public meetings will all start at 7.00 and will be held 

Wed 6 June Kirkcudbright Academy Cochran Hall, St Mary's Wynd

Thurs 7 June Dalmellington Community Centre, 38 Ayr Road, 

Mon 11 June Wigtown County Buildings, Wigtown, 

Tues 12 June New Galloway, Catstrand, 

Wed 13 June Castle Douglas, High School, Dunmuir Rd, 

Mon 18 June Stranraer, Ryan Centre, Fairhurst Rd, 

Tues 19 June Dalbeattie, Town Hall, High Street

Thurs 21 June Newton Stewart, Douglas Ewart High School, 

Fri 22 June Thornhill, Community Centre, East Back Street

Thurs 28 June New Cumnock, Town Hall, 31-33 Castle, 

Fri 29 June Girvan, Quay Zone

Public Meetings

Alan Cameron

We're laying on a series of events over the next few weeks so you can have your say! These meetings are designed to be fun, informal and laid-back, and we hope to see you there!

 

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Events and community council meetings

Alan Cameron

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We want to visit your community or local organisations to tell you more about why we think Galloway should be Scotland's next National Park.

We have meetings organised across Dumfries and Galloway and South and East Ayrshire. Come along and find out more!

Discussion Paper

Alan Cameron

Our Discussion Paper will be formally launched at a special event held at Galloway Activity Centre on December 11th. The Discussion Paper has been put together by GNPA trustees since December 2016 in order to kickstart a conversation about National Parks and how a park might work in Galloway. We really hope that the Paper will spark some interesting feedback, and we're looking forward to hearing from communities across the area! 

You can find a link to a pdf of the Discussion Paper on our website!

Opportunity!

Alan Cameron

Administrative Services

We are about to start a campaign to engage with local people and organisations in our bid to get Galloway designated as a National park.  We need help in running this campaign from someone with good administrative skills.

The tasks will be varied but will include managing databases and information, arranging and promoting meetings as well as being the first line of contact for the Association.

We expect the campaign to last well into 2018 but the Administrative Services work will depend on the response to the campaign and to our fund raising work.  The work will be on a month-to-month basis in the first instance.

Click Here for more details

Northumberland National Park comes to Castle Douglas

Alan Cameron

On 12 June around 40 local people joined a group of GNPA trustees to gain a fascinating insight into the work of the Northumberland National Park from its former Chair, hill farmer John Riddle, and its Chief Executive, Tony Gates. The two explained how the Park Authority worked closely with local people and a wide range of other bodies to develop and deliver a shared vision for the area’s future. They showed how the Park’s £2.4 million a year Government funding brought in an extra £2.1 million directly to its budget and many times that to the local economy. Responding to questions they stressed the valuable role that a National Park like theirs, with a majority of local members, could play in facilitating and co-ordinating activity within its boundaries and in helping residents to make sense of and live successfully with the many environmental and other designations already in place. They pointed out that the success rate for planning applications was actually higher in National Parks than elsewhere and gave examples of how Park staff worked with farmers and others to boost the area’s economy, through tourist and other enterprises. 

The Galloway National Park Association achieves charity status

Alan Cameron

OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator awarded Charity status to the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA) in May. GNPA’s President, Dame Barbara Kelly, welcomed OSCR recognition and said, ‘this landmark development is an important step in achieving our dream of a National Park for Galloway’.

The GNPA’s aims are enshrined in the Status Award Letter, key elements of which include:

‘To promote the protection, conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural assets of the area for public benefit…To advance public education and understanding of how a National Park could contribute to improving health and wellbeing through the enjoyment, understanding and enhancement of the area’s natural and cultural asset.’

More liaison with National Parks

Alan Cameron

Galloway National Park Association had further meetings with National Park authorities in March and April. Chairman Alan Jones, and other Trustees met Tony Gates, CEO of Northumberland National Park in MarchTony shared a recent report, Valuing England’s National Parks, which outlines the many social and economic benefits to their region, including forestry and farming. A return visit is planned for June 12th which is being organised by the Southern Uplands Partnership.

In April, a GNPA conference call with the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park reinforced our belief in the benefits of working closely with community partnerships.  We welcomed their advice on achieving a workable collaboration with local stake-holders to develop and manage a National Park.

The Galloway National Park Association meets Cairngorms NP

Alan Cameron

A team from Cairngorms National Park met a group of Galloway National Park Association Trustees and Patrons in Moffat.  Our brief was to learn as much as possible from their successful experience managing this 14 year old park.

We gleaned much valuable information about their approaches to tourism, planning, conservation and branding.  They felt that ‘working in partnerships’ was a key factor in their success; they saw their role as co-ordinating the efforts of the many organisations who have a stake in supporting the aims of the Cairngorms National Park (CNP).  This collaborative approach had enabled them to deliver a buoyant enterprise at a very low cost to the public; their annual budget is currently £4.5million. They shared their 2014/5 Visitor Survey, which reported the many benefits of National Park status, including 63% of overseas visitors choosing to visit because of the CNP ‘brand’. 

The GNPA visits Holyrood

Alan Cameron

In January Trustees and Patrons of the newly formed Galloway National Park Association attended a meeting at Holyrood hosted by Finlay Carson MSP and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks.  Speakers, including Sir Alex Fergusson and John Mayhew, Director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, made an inspiring case for the advantages new National Parks could bring to Scotland.  Carol Ritchie, Executive Director of the EUROPARC Federation presented case-studies, which underlined the social and economic benefits resulting from National Parks in countries throughout Europe. 

Alan Jones, GNPA’s Chair, welcomed the endorsement of our aims and said, ‘A Galloway National Park would present new opportunities to provide sustainable development for tourism and recreation and find new ways to integrate these into traditional industries like farming, fishing and forestry. We have a chance to design a National Park that works for us’.