The Lake District in England is a national park with a resident population of 42,000, which receives a further 12 million visitors per year. 10 million of these are day trippers, but many of them can arrive all on one day.
- Roads become congested with slow-moving traffic, making it hard for locals to go around their daily lives
- This also causes air pollution
- Some towns have entirely changed character because of tourist shops. For instance, residents in Grasmere have a nigh limitless supply of hiking boots, but struggle to buy normal groceries.
- Visitors often buy second homes, increasing local house prices and pushing locals out via unaffordable houses. Local services then shut as demand decreases- including schools
- Tourists can walk over farmers’ fields, damaging crops. Many leave gates open, causing animals to escape.
- Many go to the Lake District for quiet, but as many want to follow active activities, such as jet skiing and motor-boating, activities can easily collide.
- People walking in the hills can increase footpath erosion
- Mountain biking can cause a lot of damage to sensitive environments
- On some days, thousands of people will arrive in any given town. Competition for basic facilities like food and parking increases, and so does stress. Sometimes fights can break out!
A variety of organisations are working in the Lake District to help reduce conflicts; this includes the UK government’s National Park Authority as well as voluntary organisations run by public donation.
(The National Trust buys land to help preserve it. The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers carries out practical work by repairing paths and dry-stone walls. The Friends of the Lake District campaign on local issues.)
(Image sources: http://www.wordsworthcountry.com/maps.htm http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/14208236.Heavy_traffic_congestion_reported_in_Kendal/ )