After 37 years of dedicated service through various roles, Emyr Williams, CEO of Eryri National Park Authority, is stepping down as Chief Executive at the end of June.

A journey begins . . .

Emyr Williams started his career with the Authority in 1987 as the Assistant Agricultural Liaison Officer, a role he held until 1996. During this period he worked closely with farmers and land managers to nurture the understanding of National Parks objectives and develop agricultural practices that corresponded with the vision.

By stepping up as the Agricultural Liaison Officer between 1996 and 2007 he continued the work by implementing programmes and projects such as the Tir Eryri Programmes and the Northern Eryri 5b scheme to ensure agricultural consistency between the northern and southern regions of the National Park.

Between 2007 and 2014 he held the role of the Authority’s Land Management Director where he focused on working more strategically as working in partnerships would achieve much more in the long term than the Authority could do so by itself. During this period he was a key figure in the purchase of Yr Ysgwrn to safeguard it for future generations as well as working in partnership with key partners to improve the provisions for visitors during Canolfan Cwm Idwal’s renovations.

A decade of success as Chief Executive . . .

In 2014, Emyr Williams became the CEO of the Eryri National Park Authority. Over the last ten years, he has led numerous landmark initiatives and projects that have had a lasting impact on the future of Eryri.

Notably, he oversaw the transformation of Yr Ysgwrn into an internationally recognised heritage site to celebrate the rich history and culture of Eryri. As well as the implementation of several Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Carneddau projects, and the LIFE Celtic Rainforest Cymru project.

In addition, new ways of working in partnerships were established through Cynllun Eryri which focused on working together and developing sustainable policies. He wholeheartedly believes that this is the way forward to protect Eryri’s landscapes and come to terms with the challenges that faces the National Park.

Eryri’s future . . .

He has a real passion for Eryri National Park and although leading the Authority was not his original aim, he felt a duty to protect Eryri’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. This comes from his family’s roots because although he does not like to favour any area of Eryri over the other, Ceunant Llennyrch is a place close to his heart because of his family’s connections and he feels that there’s a uniqueness to the place.

By balancing communities and tourism following post-pandemic experiences, he noted that the visitor season is key to the National Park’s economy and that communities understand this but visitors must respect the residents who live and work here. Even though recent challenges such as Covid and the increase in visitors had challenged some areas’ infrastructures, he’s confident by managing it sensibly and by working in partnerships our communities will become more resilient by embracing these opportunities. Implementation of the Article 4 Direction and the likely introduction of a tourism levy will support Eryri’s communities in that area.

He has been passionate about the importance of the Welsh language and Eryri’s culture by noting that it is one of the area’s special qualities and highlighting the importance of safeguarding place names to emphasise what makes this National Park unique.

The challenges . . .

Through his career Emyr Williams has had to face numerous challenges including the foot and mouth disease, climate change, austerity, covid-19 and the issue of rural depopulation.

He would like to thank all staff, members and partners for their resilience and determination through these tough times and the strength shown to adopt and evolve.

In a farewell message he reinforces the need for stakeholders to work together for Eryri’s environment, its communities, and its future.