A new campaign group will now be fighting on behalf of thousands of adventure sport enthusiasts who flock to the Peak District every year. The Peak Adventure Sports Alliance has been formed to impress upon the Peak District's land owners, managers, environmental bodies and the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) that those who climb, soar, cave, canoe, mountain bike and run in the Peak District contribute massively to the area not just in economic terms but also bring a crucial vitality to the National Park.
Founder members of the Alliance include the British Mountaineering Council ( BMC), mountain bike campaign group Ride Sheffield, Derbyshire Soaring Club, representatives of the fell running, caving and canoeing communities and outdoor education providers who help people of all ages to experience and enjoy this special environment. Adventure sports continue to play a fundamental part in the evolution of the National Park and the economic benefits of a vibrant adventure sports scene and the physical and spiritual benefit it brings to hundreds of thousands of people every year must not be underestimated.
The group understands that these are straitened times and that budget cuts are seriously affecting the national parks but feel too little imagination and campaigning zeal is being brought to bear on the patent underfunding of the PDNPA. Simply viewing adventure sports as a potential source of income risks eroding the freedom to seek out adventure and enjoyment and could kill the goose that laid the golden egg. It's worth noting that the Royal Opera House gets nearly £30m in subsidy and the PDNPA receives only £8m. Do we have our priorities right?
The group will be seeking a meeting with officials from the PDNPA as a matter of urgency.