Scottish ministers have approved a number of controversial bylaws that will see camping restricted or banned from some parts of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
The ban extends to approximately 3.7% of the park, and is aimed primarily at protecting areas around the park’s busiest lochshores to prevent further damage from overuse and anti-social behaviour, something which has been a problem for some time.
Linda McKay, Park convener, said “This is tremendously positive news for all those who, like us, want to protect and enhance some of Scotland’s most precious natural places.
“These carefully considered proposals reflect the views of a wide body of interests and demonstrate the delicate balance that needs to be struck when caring for our national parks.
“We firmly believe the combination of improved camping facilities alongside management of camping pressures on our loch shores will encourage people to enjoy everything that’s great about Scotland outdoors, while protecting Loch Lomond and the Trossachs for this generation and the next.”
The park authority has found that despite changes they’ve already made, which focused on increased ranger and police efforts, a number of serious problems still existed, ranging from widespread littering and fire damage, to abandoned campsites that blight the area’s beauty.
Three all-new camping management zones will be established at west Loch Lomond, Trossachs (West) and Trossachs (North), along with the already existent zone located at east Loch Lomand, all of which will see adjustment to their respective suite of measures to ensure consistency and ease of communication between each management zone.
A camping permit scheme will also be introduced in order to facilitate responsible camping in informal lochshore settings, increasing the maximum number of camping places available within management zones up to 300 in the first year of the new bylaws operation, with plans to add further sites in the future.
Bruce Crawford, MSP for Stirling, said “Following the success of the measures introduced on east Loch Lomond I am pleased that areas in the Tros-sachs are to get similar attention.
“I am confident the introduction of 300 low-cost camping places, together with education and improved enforcement through the bylaws to be introduced, will in future lead to a very much improved experience for both locals and the visitor alike.
“Locals have had to put up with anti-social behaviour, widespread littering, the cutting down of trees and complete abandonment of camping equipment for far too long and I am glad action has now been agreed to control this.
“If we want the Trossachs to be known as a world-class area to visit we have got to protect the area in a world-class way.”