Investing in better camping facilities

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A key part of the success of the transformation of East Loch Lomond was the mix of improvements in camping facilities with byelaws to manage where and when people can camp.  That area has completely turned around since 2011.   ELL_case_study1In this short video, Stuart Fraser, of the Oak Tree Inn in Balmaha quantifies just how significant that change has been for their business which has now invested £1m in the area, creating 15 new jobs, with plans to create a further 15-20 jobs in the next 2-3 years.

National Park Ranger, Jim who has worked on East Loch Lomond for many years goes on to describe how the improved camping facilities at Sallochy Bay has helped provide campers with a very informal, low impact camping experience coupled with access to fresh water and composting toilets.

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As part of today’s announcement our Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod confirmed that she was delaying the introduction of the proposed byelaws (until March 2017) to allow the Park Authority time to invest in providing better camping facilities to coincide with the introduction of these seasonal byelaws (which will affect 3.7% of the National Park from March to September each year).

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We’ve always said that providing safe, low cost places to camp in the Management Zones is a key part of the package of measures that will help turn these areas around.  We want everyone to have the chance to come and use these lochshores, and we hope by introducing low-cost, informal camping facilities everyone will get the chance to do just that, and that our fragile lochshores will be protected for this generation and the next.

We want there to be a range of options for people who want to come and camp in the Park.  This video talks through some of them.

So, what does low impact, informal camping look like?

Today we have unveiled the first of the sites we intend to invest in, at Loch Chon in The Trossachs.   These simple artist’s impressions give a feel for what camping could look like there, or indeed in other parts of the Park that we’ll now focus on improving.

Artist's impression of improved camping at Loch Chon

Artist’s impression of improved camping at Loch Chon

Artist's impression of improved camping at Loch Chon

Artist’s impression of improved camping at Loch Chon

Between now and March 2017, we’ll now be focused on working with landowners in the Management Zones to help introduce low impact, low cost places to camp either by bookable pitch or by camping permit.  Either way, the facilities will be sensitive to the environment they sit within, giving a very informal feel in beautiful locations.

Example of how basic toilet facilities can be sensitively integrated into the natural environment without damage or long term impact.

Managing the number of people who can camp and the areas where camping will be allowed within the zones will help the environment in these pressured areas to recover.

Purely illustrative example of how low impact, informal camping could look in the future.

The hard work begins now.  If you’re interested in getting involved in setting up or running a camping facilities in the management zones then please get in touch.

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