The project led by the Province of Gelderland involves 3 partner regions from Belgium, Netherlands and UK, which have major natural sites recognised at the European level as part of the NATURA 2000 network. There are four main objectives: to give a vision for the development of recreational facilities in protected and densely populated areas; to steer recreational land use and build up knowledge in planning evaluation tools, particularly in rural areas in transition; to implement innovative marketing strategies; and to tackle the fragmentation of natural areas to create a base for future projects. The main activities of the project are channelled to creating sustainable gateways to recreational areas. As such, a large proportion of the budget will be directed at ‘decentralised gateway’ expenditure (entrances to parks, visitor centres, zoning systems to manage visitor access, walking and cycle routes, site conversion) in four different locations during the implementation of which there will be a transfer of knowledge between the partners. Other initiatives demanding transnational cooperation include the establishment of schemes to train park rangers and improve visitor management and steps to develop corporate identity between the four parks. Achievements: The main aim of the BPN project was to achieve better spatial recreational dispersion and access to nature in the densely populated region of North-West Europe. For this there has been extensive transnational research and study on several issues during the project lifetime. Key documents that have been produced are the Gateways report (called 'Guidelines for the Design of Gateways to Outstanding Landscapes' Part A and B, by lan Parkin), the Transition report (called 'Transition to Nature', by Helena Berends) and the Stakeholders report (by Mira Nouwt). More useful for the lay reader is the guide BPN Best practice- European parks on the move.
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