© Skipton Town Council 2016
The gates to the Wilderness are never locked, which is how it should be – but such ‘Open Access’ creates its own issues. These are VANDALISM, LITTER AND DOG FOULING.
Serious vandalism occurred in July 2010 when the wooden footbridge was smashed up. It happened late one Sunday night and, looking at the damage done, we can only guess at the motivation or mental state of the perpetrators. The dangerous state of the bridge meant that it had to be closed, serioiusly inconveniencing the scores of people who use it as a thorougfare on a daily basis. Fortunately Skipton’s Rotary Club came to the rescue and paid for the repairs.
Litter is an ever-present problem, despite the litter bin at the main entrance. To keep on top of this and generally to keep an eye on the site on a regular basis, we have a team of volunteers who work on a rota system. Twice a week a member or members of the rota check the site for litter and graffiti. In all, we have about 25 people, working on a 2-monthly cycle. If you would like to help out in this way, please see ‘Contact Us’ and get in touch.
Dog fouling is a very real problem, as it is a threat to the health of children. Most of the dog owners that use the Wilderness are responsible owners and carry their poly bags with them to clear up after their pets. The problem occurs when the few careless or selfish owners fail to pick up and dispose of their dog’s deposits. This often occurs when dogs are let off the leash, and disappear from view. We do ask owners to keep dogs on leash but this is impossible to police and enforce.
And so we have the distress of small children from the local nursery, who come to enjoy the wildlife and freedom to explore, and get their feet caked in dog dirt and risk their health through contact with the toxicara roundworm parasite. Dogs that carry this parasite produce eggs in their faeces which then contaminate the soil. A young child might accidentally eat contaminated soil – and thus risk developing Toxicariasis. Young children are particulalry at risk because of their play habits. Sadly, infection can have very serious results including blindness : www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/toxocariasis.htm
Should you wish to get in touch with us about any of the above issues, please use the contact details in the final section ‘Contact Us’.