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National Trust host visitors from USA National Parks in the Lakes

L-R: Ioan Waight, Hill Top Manager National Trust, Rosie Pepito Former Superintendent of the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument, Kathy Capps Former Superintendent of Death Valley National Park with Clair Payne, National Trust Ranger, in front of Hill Top.

[F]ollowing National Trust Ranger Clair Payne’s time in the USA for the World Ranger Congress last year, the National Trust have now returned the hospitality by hosting two leading women who’ve worked in conservation for their entire careers.

Rosie Pepito, the former superintendent of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and Kathy Capps, the former superintendent of Death Valley National Park visited the Lake District last week.

They were given a tour around Coniston, the Langdales and the Hawkshead area with National Trust area rangers and spent time with National Park rangers, finishing off their visit with a tour around Hill Top and the Beatrix Potter Gallery and a cruise on Steam Yacht Gondola.

The women spent some time sharing their experiences at the various US National Parks that they have worked at over their impressive careers. This was a great opportunity for rangers in the Lake District to find out more about the US National Park System and ask some burning questions, such as what’s it like to manage ranger teams, or be a ranger, in other national parks, what the impacts of the current political situation might be and how do they manage extreme climates?

It is a very different system in the USA and Rosie and Kathy were keen to meet National Trust rangers and see how things are done differently here. On the back of the recent Lake District World Heritage Site status both parties valued the chance to compare how these globally significant landscapes are being managed.

Rosie Pepito, Former Superintendent of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument said: “We’ve really enjoyed experiencing the beautiful Lake District and meeting so many dedicated rangers looking after this culturally important landscape. It is managed differently to the National Parks in the US, yet it shares some surprisingly similar management problems. Quite the contrast to the desert landscapes of the Grand Canyon-Parashant and Death Valley”.

National Trust Ranger Clair Payne said: “I was lucky enough to go out to the USA as part of the World Ranger Congress in 2016 and see their incredible places of work. So it’s been a real pleasure to have shown them the parts of the Lake District we look after and share knowledge and experiences of protected area management.”

The challenges these rangers face on a day to day basis may seem extreme to those living and working in the Lakes. Some have to cross a time zone to get from their office to the land they look after and taking three spare tyres and everything to survive for three days is standard practice for such a trip.

The vast difference in scale is what is also so staggering. However the National Trust rangers are working on significant conservation projects here, whether that’s maintaining habitats for red squirrels and the rare netted carpet moth or flood prevention schemes, albeit on a different scale.

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