The stunning Lake District landscape is a true adventure playground for thousands of people who visit every year to take part in an exciting array of challenge events. From triathlons to open water swims, fun-runs to fell-runs, thousands of people come to take part in hundreds of recreational challenge events throughout the county every year.
Whilst it’s great that so many people are benefiting from the outdoor experiences on offer, there is inevitably an impact on the landscape and communities which host these activities. Huge numbers of feet pounding our hills and valleys can lead to trampling, loss of vegetation, loss of species biodiversity and disturbance to wildlife.
Luckily, award-winning responsible tourism organisation Nurture Lakeland has risen to the challenge and is now up and running with a new campaign to help make recreational challenge events more sustainable. Part of the Heritage Lottery funded Windermere Reflections programme, the SORCE (Sustainable Outdoor Recreational Challenge Events) project is being delivered over the next 12 months.
Ruth Kirk, Project Leader says, We are working with event organisers, land managers and other stakeholders within the Windermere Catchment to develop a Best Practice toolkit to help minimise the environmental impact of events in the area. We are also promoting the use of local procurement and services to support our local communities and their economies.
The project is also encouraging and inspiring challenge event organisers to get involved with their successful visitor payback scheme by inviting participants to donate to a local conservation project to give them the opportunity to put something back into the landscape they love.
Continues Ruth, If you’re an event organiser operating in the Windermere catchment which includes the Langdale valley, Hawkshead, Grasmere, Ambleside and Windermere, and would like to get involved in this exciting project, please do get in touch.
We are looking to work with event organisers to produce some Best Practice Case Studies of sustainably run challenge events. If you think your event fits the bill we’d love to hear from you. You could be at the forefront of helping to develop a toolkit which will be available for use Cumbria-wide.
The toolkit will be developed in consultation with stakeholders over the next few months and will be launched next summer.
Ruth adds, The Lake District landscape provides the most wonderful resource for outdoor challenge events and we welcome the vibrancy they bring to the area. But it’s vital we recognise that we must mitigate for the environmental impacts so that we can keep our stunning landscape in great condition for many more generations to enjoy.
To get involved or to find more about the project contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nurturelakeland.org/sorce