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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 January, 2005, 10:11 GMT
Lake walkers too 'middle-class'
Free, guided treks through Cumbrian beauty spots are facing the axe because they are not attracting people from all walks of life, it is being claimed.

The Lake District National Park says its programme, run by more than 100 rangers, currently attracts "middle-aged, middle-class white people".

Managers want to spend the money they save on attracting ethnic minorities, disabled people and more children.

But the move has angered many volunteer rangers who give up their time to help.

Among activities facing the axe are walks, a magazine, informative talks and slide shows.

'Middle-aged people'

The national park's authority said it wanted to meet government targets to attract minorities, inner city children and disabled people.

More than 30,000 people take part in events every year, including 4,500 walks.

A spokesman for the authority, said: "Our research shows that the majority who do use the walks are white, middle-class, middle-aged people.

"The government is encouraging national parks to appeal to young people, to ethnic minorities and to people with disabilities.

"It is saying we ought to focus our activities on these kind of groups."

But voluntary ranger Derek Lyon hit out at the plans.

He said: "What are they going to do, bus in these people, or open an office in Manchester?

"Why do we at least not stick with a programme that we have prepared and which we can run at no additional expense?"

Lake District helpers celebrated
29 Aug 04 |  Cumbria
1m to repair worn out footpaths
05 Mar 03 |  England

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