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John Muir Trust holds AGM in UK’s largest National Park

9th May 2005

John Muir is famous for having started the national parks movement in America in the19th century, so it seemed appropriate for the convener of Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) to be one of the key speakers at the John Muir Trust’s AGM, which was held in the Park at the weekend.

Andrew Thin, CNPA Convener and former John Muir Trust Chairman, was asked to address members of the Trust as they gathered in Braemar on Saturday (7th May). Speaking at the event, he outlined the John Muir Trust’s long and honourable track record in the field of conservation and congratulated the organisation on its holistic and balanced approach to the management of the countryside.  He also paid tribute to the organisation’s commitment to working with local communities.

“All too often it is only the extreme and uncompromising voices of the conservation lobby that are heard.  It is therefore extremely important that organisations like the John Muir Trust are willing to lead the way in terms of compromise and mutual understanding and tolerance between all the different interest groups. The John Muir Trust’s approach to conservation and land management is echoed by the Cairngorms National Park Authority.  Both organisations take an inclusive approach and would like these wonderful landscapes and special places to be enjoyed and valued by everyone.”

One of the ways that the CNPA is ensuring that this happens is through helping to deliver the John Muir Award in the Cairngorms.  The John Muir Award is the educational initiative of the John Muir Trust.  It invites groups or individuals of any age to discover, explore, conserve and share their experiences of wild places, whether they are on the doorstep or further afield.

Andrew Thin added: “The John Muir Award is making a significant contribution to helping us deliver the aims of the Park, such as the protection and enhancement of the natural heritage and understanding and enjoying the Park.  In addition this initiative is helping us to meet our social inclusion objectives and create our vision of a ‘Park for All’. Only last week a group of pupils from Muirhead Community School in Troon visited the Park – thanks to the Scottish Youth Hostel Association – as part of their John Muir Award, where they learnt about and enjoyed the special qualities of the Park during their trip. I am very keen to make sure that this National Park has something worthwhile to offer everyone in Scotland, and I am particularly anxious to underline the role that I believe we can play in delivering wider social inclusion objectives in Scotland.”

Nigel Hawkins, Chief Executive of the John Muir Trust said: “We were delighted to be able to hold the AGM of the John Muir Trust at Braemar in the Cairngorms National Park.  It was a great opportunity for us to see the conservation work being done in the area and to hear of the progress being made by the Cairngorms National Park Authority”.

The John Muir Trust was set up in 1983 to conserve and protect wild places with their indigenous animals, plants and soils for the benefit of present and future generations.  The organisation takes its name from John Muir, who was born in East Lothian in 1838 and emigrated to America when he was 11 years old.  He was a botanist, geologist and mountaineer but is most famous for founding Yosemite National Park in California.