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national parkany relatively large area of countryside which is
- not materially altered by human presence or exploitation,
- protected by legislation to preserve the characteristics for which it was designated,
- made accessible to visitors under special conditions for cultural and recreative purposes. This definition is the international meaning adopted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in 1969.
In the UK, a different approach has been adopted based on the bigger problem of integrating conservation of the landscape with the economic and social life of the countryside, i.e. of not removing humanity and its effects. National parks in England and Wales, because of their scenery and the opportunities afforded for open-air recreation, and having regard to their character and position in relation to centres of population, are protected by legislation to preserve and enhance their natural beauty. The Countryside Commission has so far designated 10 national parks, for example, the Lake District, Snowdonia.