Land available for public enjoyment. National parks include not only the most scenic places, but also places distinguished for their historic, prehistoric, or scientific interest, or for their superior recreational assets. They range from areas the size of small countries to pockets of just a few hectares. The first was Yellowstone National Park, USA, established in 1872. In the USA, Republic of Ireland, South Africa – and most countries – national parks are owned by the government. In the UK, by contrast, most of the land in national parks is owned by a mix of farmers, the Forestry Commission, Ministry of Defence, county councils, and so on. In the UK national parks are not wholly wilderness or conservation areas, but merely places where planning controls on development are stricter than elsewhere.
In some countries national parks are wilderness areas, with no motorized traffic, no overflying aircraft, no hotels, hostels, shops or cafés, no industry, and the minimum of management.
In England and Wales under the National Park Act 1949 ten national parks were established including the Peak District, the Lake District, and Snowdonia. National parks in Britain are protected from large-scale development, but from time to time pressure to develop land for agriculture, quarrying, or tourism, or to improve amenities for the local community means that conflicts of interest arise between land users.
Other protected areas include Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
Conflict in the National Parks
Uses of glaciated areas
Association of National Park Authorities
national parks, conflicts of interest
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