Pub­lic re­spond pos­i­tively to new camp­ing bye-laws

The Oban Times - - Outdoors - DAVID MCPHEE dm­cphee@oban­times.co.uk

NEW CAMP­ING bye-laws have re­ceived a largely pos­i­tive re­sponse since be­ing in­tro­duced at the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Na­tional Park.

The sea­sonal bye-laws, which ap­ply to four per cent of the na­tional park, are in place from March 1 to Septem­ber 30 each year. The changes in­clude how long peo­ple can stay in lay-bys.

This was brought in to man­age the en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age caused by the huge num­ber of peo­ple camp­ing in some ar­eas and dis­play­ing anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

Peo­ple can still stop and rest in lay-bys, in­clud­ing stay­ing over- night if nec­es­sary, but per­mits to stay in them will no longer be is­sued and this will be mon- itored by Po­lice Scot­land. New ar­eas have been al­lo­cated for those seek­ing a per­mit.

On­line sur­veys show that 85 per cent of re­spon­dents would rec­om­mend stay­ing in one of the new ar­eas and 92 per cent found it easy to pur­chase a per­mit.

The park au­thor­ity has wel­comed the pos­i­tive re­sponse from cam­pers and is tak­ing proac­tive steps to ad­dress any teething is­sues and neg­a­tive feed­back.

Gor­don Wat­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Na­tional Park Au­thor­ity, said: ‘It is early days, but over­all there has been a very pos­i­tive re­ac­tion from vis­i­tors and we are al­ready see­ing a wel­come dif­fer­ence in the ar­eas we are try­ing to pro­tect, with fewer aban­doned camp­sites and ir­re­spon­si­ble fire-light­ing.

‘It is great to see such sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive feed­back on the camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from the sur­vey re­sponses too.

‘There has also been some neg­a­tive, but mostly con­struc­tive, feed­back and this, along with our own close mon­i­tor­ing, is be­ing used to help us fine­tune things.

‘ We’ve said all along that we would do this and the changes we are mak­ing demon­strate our com­mit­ment to lis­ten­ing and ad­dress­ing is­sues where we can.

‘We par­tic­u­larly sup­port the con­tri­bu­tion from Po­lice Scot­land on how in­ap­pro­pri­ate en­camp­ments in some lochshore lay-bys will be ad­dressed to en­sure th­ese lo­ca­tions are ac­ces­si­ble for more peo­ple to en­joy.

‘The changes we have made are all aimed at pro­vid­ing a more pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for vis­i­tors while pro­tect­ing our busiest loch shores. We look for­ward to wel­com­ing peo­ple camp­ing and stay­ing in mo­torhomes, and hear­ing their views as the sea­son goes on.’

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about camp­ing in the na­tional park, in­clud­ing the bye-laws, de­tailed maps of the camp­ing man­age­ment zones and the book­ing sys­tem for camp­ing per­mits can be found at www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/camp­ing.

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