If you haven’t heard, the Walking Access Commission (WAC) is requesting nominations for its 2014 Walking Access Awards. If you have any ideas for individuals, organisations or other entities to nominate, head over here and follow the instructions. Nominations close on 18th July.
The Walking Access Commission was formed with the Walking Access Act of 2008. Its main role is to provide leadership and coordination for negotiating (for example) access across private land and, where possible, aiming to facilitate trusting relationships between people on both sides. One of the coolest and easiest-to-appreciate things which has come out of the Walking Access Commission so far, however, has been the Walking Access Mapping System, also known as the WAMS.
In its early days, the WAC asked recreationalists what the most useful things were that it could do to help people access public spaces. A popular response was that it was very difficult to find out where we’re actually allowed to go, especially in the midst of private land that often surrounds the conservation estate. If you didn’t already know for some reason that there was meant to be public access in a certain place, it wouldn’t always be obvious to try and find out. In 2009, the responses caused the Walking Access Commission to commission creation of the WAMS as one of its first tasks.