Following the establishment of the National Park in 1954, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority became an independent body, within the framework of local government, in 1997. We provide some services similar to those provided elsewhere by district and county councils. For example, we are the local planning authority. Most of the things we do, however, are particular to national park authorities. We have 25 Members – in many ways like a company’s board of directors. We employ approximately 150 full and part-time staff. We are also very fortunate to benefit from the work of around 250 Dales Volunteers. Our purposes Our role is clearly defined in Parliament by our two statutory purposes. These are: to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Parkto promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area by the public. In pursuing these purposes, we are also required: to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Park. To sum up, we are here to conserve and enhance the National Park and to help others to share in and enjoy it.