Thursday, 2 April 2015

Making trails safe part 2 - Julian Tippett enters the debate.

I have received the following message from Julian Tippett, who many of you will know as the author of the excellent walking guide Landscapes of Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast and Capri . Many a British hiker (and not only) can be seen walking our trails clutching a copy of his book.
This is what he writes:
I was interested in two of your recent blogs:A Sorrento Amalfi Walking Festival - Why Not? and MakingTrails Safe
I don't see significant progress on either taking place in the foreseeable future for one simple reason: there is no authority in existence that can take responsibility for the work. Consider the fragmentation: Naples v. Salerno; the multitude of local councils; Comunit√† Montana; CAI. 
For work to be done consistently there needs to one organisation that both sees value in hiking (which means that money can be available to promote hiking) and has the power to get things done to a common standard (by setting up a hiking oversee body). All this is a million miles away. None of the current authorities meet the twin criteria.

None of the above should be taken as criticism of efforts that have taken place so far, all very laudable, and notably: CAI's way-marking and map producing activity; Giovanni Visetti's similar activity; the local councils in keeping the established paved footpaths in good repair, mapping by Giovanni Visetti and by Cart&Guide, my walking guide book. 

Hiking needs to be developed over a single area comprising: the Amalfi Coast, Sorrentine peninsula, and Capri. A hiking footpath authority needs to be established to act as the focus for activity on promoting hiking. This would have to be done in agreement with all local authorities, who would be the principal funding providers. Activity by the hiking authority would include: 

• setting up a register of paths to be included in the scheme, both paved and 'mountain'.

• devising a system for monitoring and recording their condition

• initiating work in liaison with the local councils and by employing contractors

• setting standards for signposting/ way-marking etc.

• obtaining funding

• additional activities e.g.: liaising with tourist information centres; ditto with walking holiday companies; ditto with walking guide book publishers; organising walking festivals.

The key to the above is a single common hiking footpath organisation. 
Julian concludes  posing the following open questions:
"Is this a valid aim? Is it feasible?"

Unfortunately having lived here for some time, and especially in the present economic climate, I for one personally very much doubt it.