Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is within an hour’s drive of over 50% of Scotland’s population – that’s partly why we have 4.5 million visitors spending 7.5 million ‘visitor days’ in the National Park every year.
The National Park offers an easily accessible place to enjoy world renowned landscapes, scenic lochs and popular beauty spots. On the plus side, the National Park benefits from the welcome tourism income that this brings to our rural communities. But there is a downside too; our most accessible lochshores are suffering due a combination of:
This has a knock-on impact not just for the people who live and work here, but it also puts others off coming to enjoy our lochshores. We want to provide a fantastic experience for everyone who comes to camp, visit for the day or live in the National Park and at the moment this does not always happen. These rural, lochshore areas and the roads used to access them are sometimes over-capacity and the visitor experience is far from ideal.
So, what can be done to raise the standard of the experience on our lochshores? We believe the answer lies in a comprehensive approach, we call this our National Park ‘Visitor Experience Mix’, it combines:
Encouraging respect and enjoyment
From the work our rangers do day-in and day-out, to our long term work with schools and young people, the National Park Authority is committed to providing every opportunity for people to learn about how to enjoy the National Park responsibly to get the most out of their time here and to protect it for future generations.
This is our high profile awareness raising campaign aimed at educating visitors to the National Park about the responsibilities that come with the rights to accessing the countryside, making the area safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
Since Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park was created in 2002, our rangers have been focused on providing information and advice to visitors to the area.
We employ a team of 27 permanent rangers and approximately 30 Seasonal rangers dedicated to providing a warm welcome, a knowledgeable introduction to the National Park and experience and advice on how to respect and enjoy the area.
Evidence tells us that education alone is not enough in such a busy area and that is why we are also focused on providing facilities for our millions of visitors. Over the years, we’ve invested in many countryside sites, providing everything from:
- kiosks to provide snacks, food and drink
- picnic benches and barbecue areas
- creating and improving paths and viewpoints
- parking facilities for cars, buses and bikes
- information signage
Recently we have also recently invested in developing land to allow good quality informal camping to take place on some of the National Park’s most scenic lochshore areas from Sallochy Bay in east Loch Lomond to the newly opened facilities on the shores of Loch Lubnaig.
We think there is a need to provide more facilities like these to support camping on other lochshores.
We intend to work with partners from the public, private and third sector to help us enhance and maintain a wide range of much needed visitor facilities.
Our focus on education and investment in providing facilities for visitors has not prevented irresponsible and camping and antisocial behaviour. We have looked to tackle this in two key ways so far:
Working in conjunction with Police Scotland to enforce existing legislation to deal with problem behaviours.
- ‘Operation Ironworks’ is our joint programme with Police Scotland where we provide increased patrols in the National Park to help deal with antisocial and problem behaviour from a minority of visitors whose conduct spoils it for others. Introducing new legislation (byelaws) to deal with problem behaviours specific to an area of the National Park[/li] We have byelaws in force to encourage responsible behaviour:
- on Loch Lomond to manage boat navigation and on the Loch Lomond Islands
- in east Loch Lomond where camping is managed during the summer season