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Camping Development Strategy Approved by National Park Board

Plans for investment in improved camping unveiled    

Today (Monday 24th October 2016) the Board of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority approved the National Park’s Camping Development Strategy. The Strategy sets out the camping provision that will support the new camping byelaws that come into effect in the National Park on 1st March 2017.

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said:

“We are delighted the Your Park Camping Development Strategy has been approved by the National Park Board. The programme of investment outlined in the Strategy is vital to the Your Park project, which aims to protect our fragile, beautiful lochshores and improve the experience of people camping, visiting and living in the National Park. It also marks the implementation of investment in providing additional, basic camping facilities which will improve the camping experience in each of the new Camping Management Zones.”

Today’s announcement follows the decision in January 2016 by the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform, to approve the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Camping Management Byelaws 2017 (which cover less than 4% of the National Park’s 720 square miles). In making this decision, the Minister noted and welcomed the Park Authority’s commitment that 300 camping spaces would be made available within Camping Management Zones by the time the byelaws become operational on 1st March 2017.

The Camping Development Strategy sets out how and where these 300 camping places will be delivered by the time the byelaws come into operation in March, and how the Park Authority will invest further in facilities during 2017 and in subsequent years.

A significant number of the new camping places will be located on the National Forest Estate managed by Forest Enterprise Scotland, with a new informal campsite at Loch Chon and camping permit areas in locations including the Forest Drive at Aberfoyle. Forest Enterprise Scotland has been a key partner for the Park Authority, working together since the introduction of the first set of camping byelaws on East Loch Lomond in 2011. They successfully tackled the dual challenges of protecting fragile lochshore environments from damage, and providing good quality camping experiences for visitors. At that time an informal campsite was built on land managed by Forest Enterprise Scotland at Sallochy Bay near Rowardennan. Previously damaged by high volumes of camping and antisocial behaviour, the new campsite has helped transform the area.

Gordon Donaldson, Head of the Forest Enterprise Scotland team in Cowal & Trossachs said:

“We are proud to be working with the Park Authority on protecting the National Park and improving the visitor experience, first on East Loch Lomond, and now with the new plans set out in the Camping Development Strategy. Our campsite at Sallochy Bay has been successfully protecting the lochshore environment and creating a great, safe, informal place to camp for five years. This is the model for the new site that will be built on our land at Loch Chon. Like Sallochy, the shore of Loch Chon has seen significant damage from high volumes of campers and antisocial behaviour, and we are confident that an informal campsite at Loch Chon has the potential to provide an excellent camping experience.”

The Camping Development Strategy seeks to protect the busiest and most heavily used lochshores while providing for a high quality camping experience, alongside other forms of access and recreation. The significant investment (£5m over the last 3 years) that is being made through the National Park’s Outdoor Recreation Plan to improve access, develop and enhance long distance routes and support other outdoor recreation activities will attract more people to be active in the National Park.

The National Park Authority spent years dealing with the problem of destructive camping in some of its most beautiful locations through educating visitors about responsible camping. However, it has found that despite this and increased Ranger and Police efforts, serious problems, ranging from widespread litter and fire damage, to abandonment of entire campsites were continuing to blight the Park’s outstanding natural beauty.

The Your Park plans which aim to tackle this comprise of:

  • Continuing education on respect for the National Park and ongoing working alongside Police Scotland to enforce both existing and new legislation.
  • The creation of four Camping Management Zones which will affect less than 4% of the National Park. These will include three new zones at West Loch Lomond, Trossachs West and Trossachs North, and a slight adjustment to the existing zone at East Loch Lomond – where investment, education and enforcement has had a transformative effect.
  • The introduction of 300 low-cost camping places through the camping provision outlined in the Camping Development Strategy, which includes informal campsites, camping permit areas (some with facilities) and places for motorhomes to stop off overnight.

New seasonal camping management byelaws which come into force in March 2017 and will apply from 1st March – 30th September each year. They will regulate camping, tackle antisocial behaviour and irresponsible fire-lighting. They will also prevent inappropriate use of public laybys as encampments by caravans and motorhomes.

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