Volunteers at work picking litter in the national park

Volunteers at work picking litter in the national park

National park bosses in Snowdonia are encouraging walkers to use bus services to help relieve traffic problems in the area.

Snowdonia National Park Authority said problem parking and increased litter amounts continue to blight popular destinations.

A spokesperson said: “Since the end of the first Covid-19 lockdown, Snowdonia has seen unprecedented numbers of visitors to the national park.

“While foreign travel rules and restrictions remain in force for some popular summer destinations, the park authority expects to see a continuation of the current trend to holiday at home in the national parks.”

It said it had spent the winter planning, with other bodies in the area, for another summer of bumper visitor numbers and finding ways to encourage sustainable tourism in the national park.

“One of the main problems encountered was people-pressure and the numbers of cars parking unlawfully or dangerously in the national park, especially in the most popular areas. To try and reduce the effect of cars at honeypot areas the park authority now operates a pre-booking parking system at Pen-y-Pass and has worked in collaboration with Gwynedd Council to expand and promote the bus service operating in the Yr Wyddfa and Dyffryn Ogwen areas.”

The authority said it is working with partners on a new and innovative parking and transport scheme for the area. “For this year we encourage users to take advantage of the enhanced bus services provided including the new service in the Ogwen area,” the spokesperson said.

“Thanks to additional funding by the Welsh Government there is also enhanced presence on the ground this year as more seasonal wardens have been appointed for the season. As well as being available to offer advice to visitors, they are also our eyes and ears on the ground to report on any issues that may arise so that they can be addressed promptly.

“We are also very fortunate to have a dedicated team of voluntary wardens for the Yr Wyddfa-Snowdon area.

“Unfortunately, along with an increase in visitor numbers comes an increase in the volume of litter to be dealt with.

“While partnership work is ongoing in the background to address this issue through behavioural change campaigns, our team of Care for Snowdonia volunteers are doing a fantastic job out on the ground. In collaboration with the Snowdonia Society, the Outdoors Partnership and the National Trust, we have many teams of volunteers out regularly advising visitors and litter-picking.”

Snowdonia National Park Authority chief executive Emyr Williams said: “The past 18 months have been unprecedented in the national park’s 70-year history, and we as an authority acknowledge the pressure that the communities have had to endure, especially those communities that have never experienced visitor numbers to the same extent before.

“We hope that, along with our partners, that we have succeeded to alleviate some of that pressure, and we will continue to do what is within our powers to ensure that the communities of Snowdonia are protected.”

Councillor Gareth Griffith, Gwynedd Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “We continue to work with our partners at Snowdonia national park and North Wales Police to encourage motorists to use commonsense when they visit Gwynedd to keep the area safe for everyone.

“Bus services are available to take walkers to the start of footpaths. If a car park is full, we ask people to look for a suitable alternative location rather than endangering other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and causing serious access problems for emergency service vehicles, including mountain rescue volunteers.

“The rules are there to keep everyone safe. If you ignore the rules, you are likely to face a fine or your vehicle may be removed by the authorities.”

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