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Guiding Principles - Fundamentals

Take account of conservation, heritage, recreation, cultural and landscape objectives

The use of safety precautions may conflict with conservation, recreation or landscape
objectives. For example, it would be possible to reduce risk when walking around the walls of a castle by erecting railings. Handrails and steps could reduce risk on steep mountain descents. Fencing might lessen risk if erected at the edge of cliffs or water. However, the application of such control measures could fundamentally detract from the historical integrity of the structure and inherent attraction of the landscape. A balance must be achieved between risk and the impact of safety measures.

Do not take away people’s sense of freedom and adventure

Do not destroy the appeal of wild and remote places by putting up signs and fences, or making paths to urban standards. People should be free to participate in high risk or adventurous activities as long as they are aware of the risks. Riders of mountain bikes should not be prevented from experiencing the exhilaration of steep descents and challenging drops, if that is their informed choice.

Where activities conflict, you might have to restrict one person’s freedom for the benefit of others. However, first look for solutions that could still allow conflicting activities to take place, for example by zoning, or by scheduling them to take place at separate times.

Avoid restrictions on access

Try to find safety solutions that both allow access and protect the buildings, structures or landscape. Only restrict access as a last resort. You may need to exclude the public due to natural processes or weather, for example when cliff paths have collapsed or heavy flooding has occurred, or to carry out repairs or commercial operations (like timber harvesting). If so, keep restrictions as short as possible, and where possible time them to cause least interference to visitors.

Avoid giving visitors a long list of dos and don’ts, and remember that disclaimers do not provide legal protection.

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