The head of the United States National Parks, Jonathan B. Jarvis, and the author and champion of the rewilding movement, George Monbiot, are among a range of international experts on landscape and nature who will address the John Muir Conference 2014 in Perth this spring.
The event, in Perth Concert Hall on 12-13 May, will explore innovative solutions for the protection and enhancement of the UK’s most important landscapes, and examine the relevance of the 19th century conservationist and champion of wild land John Muir’s principles in the 21st century.
The conference, hosted by a group of six landscape, nature and heritage organisations, with the support of the Scottish Government as part of its Year of Homecoming, comes at a contradictory time for National Parks and protected areas, with interest in them apparently growing while they also face unprecedented development pressures.
Scotland’s National Parks have a strong socio-economic aim - but is this appropriate? The conference will explore whether this model and others like it have impacted on the development and success of protected places across the world.
Stuart Brooks, the chief executive of the John Muir Trust, said:
'We are delighted to be part of this ground-breaking conference which we hope will contribute to a national debate on how we protect our wild places, in the centenary year of John Muir’s death.'
'This conference will provide a platform to share some excellent and innovative approaches to management of our protected areas and also a place where new ideas and challenges to the status quo can be debated.'
'There is an old saying that a prophet is never honoured in his own country, but it is heartening that the prophet of wild land, a son of East Lothian, is now recognised as one of Scotland’s national heroes.'
'We can still learn a great deal from him and it would be a fitting legacy to carry forward his campaign to protect wild places in the land of his birth.'
The event is aimed primarily at people who work in, manage or govern protected areas. For more info see the conference website.