National park could provide youth jobs

Some of the GNPA Trustees and supporters at Kirkcudbright Harbour.
Some of the GNPA Trustees and supporters at Kirkcudbright Harbour.

The Galloway National Park Association (GNPA) launched its website this week and is now seeking comments and input from across the region.

As it grows over the coming months, the website will act as a forum for discussion as the GNPA’s plans begin to take shape.

The launch should also serve as a first step in the consultation process which ultimately aims to lobby the Scottish parliament for designation.

Speaking at the launch of the website, GNPA Chairman Dr Alan Jones said “Galloway is challenged by its distance from major centres of population and reduced economic activity in recent years.

“This has a knock-on effect on local employment, industry and investment, which in turn has made it harder than ever for our communities to keep hold of their talented, ambitious young folk when they leave school and make plans for the future.”

“The GNPA believes that a National Park is perfectly placed to tackle these challenges because it provides recognition of Galloway’s fundamental value, based on its natural and cultural heritage.

“Making Galloway a National Park would instantly establish a positive, global branding for the area and would allow a National Park Authority to set out a clear vision for our own future, bringing together public and private resources to target work and investment where it is needed most”.

Scottish Regulators OSCR awarded Charity status to the Galloway National Park Association earlier in the month, which the group hailed as an important step towards realizing the vision of a National Park for Galloway.

Scotland currently has only two National Parks; Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, although studies have suggested for over 70 years that the nation could benefit from as many as nine designated areas.

The Scottish Campaign for National Parks has highlighted the potential value of a number of additional locations across Scotland and Galloway is included in their list of suitable candidates.

Talking about the benefits that a National Park could bring to Galloway, GNPA President, Dame Barbara Kelly said, “Many people have a clear idea of what Galloway means to them and a National Park could allow us to develop these ideas, building them into an internationally recognized brand, to celebrate all that is great about our part of Scotland.

Visit the GNPA’s website at www.gallowaynationalpark.org to find out more and have your say!