THE Yorkshire Dales National Park is asking to meet officials of the Youth Hostels Association to protest over plans to close two youth hostels in the Dales, at Aysgarth and Linton.
The much respected YHA, one of the oldest charities in Britain aimed at getting people out into the countryside, was badly hit by last year's foot and mouth outbreak and has announced the closure of ten hostels.
Of these, two are in the Dales - the only area in Britain to face a double closure - and top national park officials are asking to meet Roger Clarke, the YHA chief executive, next month.
National park chairman Steve Macaré, commented: "Youth Hostels play a vital role in introducing many young people to an area like the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the very people who then return year on year.
"Closing two hostels will dramatically reduce the amount of budget accommodation available in the area and as a result stop many people coming to enjoy this great park.
"The YHA's decision has caused a great deal of disquiet and we will want to find out why the Yorkshire Dales National Park has been singled out for such drastic cuts.
"We will be calling on the YHA to reconsider its decision at the earliest opportunity and to explore other options, which we hope will throw a much needed lifeline to the hostels and as a result the many other businesses in the area that rely on their visitors.