Monday 14 November 2022
We were saddened to hear news of the death of Michael Dower, who was a former National Park Officer for the Peak District National Park.
Michael Dower joined the National Park in 1985 and led the organisation, known then as the Peak Park Joint Planning Board, until 1992.
He was rightly able to claim to have national parks in his blood: his father John Dower wrote the 1945 White Paper "National Parks in England and Wales" which led to the National Parks Act of 1949. His mother Pauline Dower was for 16 years a member of the National Parks Commission, which oversaw creation of the first 10 national parks in England and Wales, including the Peak District National Park.
His former colleagues remember him as an inspirational leader, with a lifelong commitment to actively protecting landscapes and finding solutions that benefited rural economies and communities.
Andrew McCloy, Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "Michael emulated the outstanding contribution of his parents to the National Park movement and wider environment by overseeing the Peak District National Park Authority for seven years, then guiding the Countryside Commission after that. He was a true public servant and we are deeply grateful for his dedication and expertise."
During his time at the National Park, Michael developed close working relationships with the Chatsworth estate, the National Trust, English Nature, English Heritage and other public agencies in pursuit of the purposes set out in the National Park Management Plan.
In 1992, Michael moved to become Director-General of the Countryside Commission, the government agency responsible at the time for advice to government about policy and funding for national parks. When he retired from that job, he became Professor of European Rural Development at the University of Gloucestershire. From 2000 to 2016, he was coordinator of the PREPARE Partnership for Rural Europe, and in the latter period also Joint Coordinator of the European Rural Parliament.
Michael lived his later years in Dorset, where he was an active campaigner on climate and related issues. He died in November 2022.
The Peak District National Park Authority and former colleagues extend their sympathies to Michael’s family and friends.
More of Michael Dower's history with the National Park can be read in our recent '70 People 70 Years' section.