Conservation

In 1956 The National Trust designated Gower as Britain's first "Area of Outstanding National Beauty" (AONB). Whilst this was essentially beneficial to the peninsula, the consequences of this designation does effectively illustrate the double-edged sword that environmental conservation wields on a given locale.

The 'catch 22' situation lies in the fact that whilst organisations such as The National Trust, The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, The Countryside Council for Wales and The Gower Society fight to maintain the inherent beauty and delicate balance of nature of the peninsula, so ever increasing numbers of people are drawn to the area to marvel at the results of their hard work.

Ultimately, conservation leads to the need for future, more intensive conservation. This costs money and so the organisations responsible need to raise further funds to pay for their work. Having to advertise themselves and their work to raise this money also advertises the areas that they are seeking to protect - leading to increased tourism on the area and, inevitably, to further conservation work needing to be carried out. And so the cycle continues.

Conservation groups are thus forced to walk a difficult tightrope. The need to conserve an environment for future generations to enjoy must always be weighed against the problems increased tourism will have on the area concerned. This is a problem shared not only by conservation groups; local books or websites like this, celebrating the beauty of Gower.

One thing is for sure however. At the present, both conservation and advertising of the Gower Peninsula are necessary, despite the problems associated with them. If ignored, tourism and the inherent erosion etc. connected with it might very well decline, but other more damaging industries would soon take their place, such as sand dredging, fracking and other industries waiting to exploit the natural environment.

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