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Commercialism - Good For The Broads Or Not?


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I suspect lots of people are starting this same topic


I’d love to know what people think about this. Not whether the Broads should be (or even is) a national park or whether the Broads Authority do a good job but whether commercialism is needed.


I think commercialism is essential for the Broads because ....


Without boats on the water there would be a lot less people visiting.

Without commercialism there would be no one to sell or hire people boats.

Without the income from boating the BA would be unable to maintain the Broads

The Broads were cut for commercial purposes initially. They aren’t a natural feature and would revert to marshland without maintenance.





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Without the "boats", that would free up the Broads for fishermen, bird watchers and ramblers. Would their combined additional financial contribution offset the loss of boat income necessary to sustain the "Broads" (BA included)?


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It's a pity that Soundings feels as he does as his question is a very good one, worth debating. What would the Broads be like with no boats? We should also discuss the National Park, since it's management style is linked to the problem.

I know several national parks as I tromped over them in the Army and places such as Dartmoor, Exmoor and Sennybridge, in the Welsh mountains, really can be left in their natural state as they are the same as they were since the last glacier left them. All that is needed is a bit of regulation over car parking and suitable enclosures for the grazing of sheep.

Yes, that's a simplistic view of it, but it is not the same as the Broads! This is a place which has constantly evolved over the centuries and will continue to do so, rapidly, if it is left "natural".  We can see what is happening at Hickling since the birdwatchers have wanted it to themselves and I read in the paper that bittern numbers are actually dropping again in the Broads, due to the reedbeds drying out into fenland since they are not being managed properly. The birdwatchers prefer to "preserve" the landscape.

The Broads were not only created by peat pits - they have been arteries for navigation over the centuries. I have calculated that we are now using only about a third of the navigations which existed in Norfolk and Suffolk in the days of the wherries.We have lost an enormous amount of open water on the Northern Broads in the last 100 years and are continuing to do so.

So the questions are these :

1/. At what point in their manmade evolution do you want to "stop the clock" and preserve the Broads? Do you want them as they are now, or as they were before the war, or in Roman times? Do you want to see them as a vast peat bog? In which case do nothing, and they will soon go back there!

2/. Given that they need maintaining, how is this to be paid for? If you are going to keep navigations open for pleasure boating then there must be a commercial income. Even Soundings's dream (as I understand it) of gazing out over marshland un-disturbed by tourism, would still have to be paid for by somebody.

One thing I do know - I have never met a hire boatyard owner who does not appreciate how vital it is to maintain the Broads properly. They are our "stock in trade" and if they were not still a wonderful playground for boating, they would no longer be commercial.

And without the boating, we would soon go back to digging peat. 



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I couldn't agree more, we all moan now about lack of dredging and waters silting up,  without the income from tolls both private and commercial there wouldn`t be the funds to carry out the work and with no or few boats there wouldn`t be the need to maintain a navigable  depth, I have seen to many non navigable rivers and streams dry up elsewhere I would hate it to happen here.


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My personal take on this is that without the boats on the Broads, be it hire or private, there would be an unrecoverable loss both in jobs and services. No amount of ramblers, bird watches or fishermen could ever fill this void.

In the real national parks there is in place structures with regards to farming and tourism to sustain these parks.

There have been issues in some of these parks however, take for example the Lake District and the decision to bring in the 10 mph speed limit in 2005. This virtually overnight decimated a  number of businesses, with many cutting back their business or even going out of business, petitions were made notices in all the shop windows in Bowness to stop the ban. It was estimated at the time that skiers made up less than 4% of all the lake district tourists but contributed than 20% of all tourist income, effecting shops, hotels, restaurants, pubs and service industries.



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Commercialization made the Broads as we know them, dating right back to peat digging.

I doubt very much that in calling the Broads a national park the Broads Authority is actually being remotely commercial, promoting the use of the term is nothing other than a means to an end, an end that boaters and anglers won't like. Using the term for 'branding' is nothing other than a smokescreen, in my honest & sincere opinion.

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