Today (4 July 2017) on the stunning shores of Loch Lubnaig, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP met with trainees for an innovative project that is tackling the impacts of recreation on our most iconic mountain paths in Scotland, and providing great new rural youth employment opportunities.
The Cabinet Secretary met the trainees and board members of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, during a visit to learn about some of the priority projects in the proposed new National Park Partnership Plan 2018-2023. The plan sets out a broad-ranging vision for how the Park Authority, along with its partners, propose to tackle priorities including youth employment, climate change, outdoor recreation, health and wellbeing and investment in towns and villages.
The Cabinet Secretary’s visit marks the end of the three-month consultation inviting the public to have their say on the five-year plan. Its aim is to widen the social, environmental, cultural and economic benefits of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said: “Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a fantastic place for people to enjoy recreational activities. It’s also supporting communities and businesses, innovating on climate change, natural flood management, and improving physical and mental health.
“It’s great to see the national park recognise the importance of supporting young people into employment, with this mountain path scheme providing trainees with hands on experience which will help them, our rural communities and economy.”
The draft National Park Partnership Plan 2018-2023 sets out a broad-ranging vision for how the Park Authority along with its partners propose to tackle priorities including youth employment, community growth, climate change, outdoor recreation, health and wellbeing and investment in towns and villages.
The plan is the first major piece of work led by James Stuart in his new role as Convener with the National Park. James Stuart said: “The Mountains & The People is a perfect example of the sort of projects that we want to develop over the next five years with our many partners in the National Park. In one project, we are not only restoring our mountain and Munro paths, we are also promoting the Park and creating opportunities for our young people, who are gaining qualifications in rural skills through the project over five years. It exemplifies the multiple benefit approach that we aim to achieve with the Partnership Plan.
“The National Park is a truly special place and this plan proposes how we along with a wide range of other organisations, can work together over the next five years to look after, enhance and make the most of it. By working collaboratively with all our partners we can achieve a much greater impact.
“We have received more than 200 responses to the plan and want to thank everyone who contributed. We look forward to finalising the Plan and submitting it to Scottish Ministers later this year for approval.”
The trainees from the Mountains & The People project who met the Cabinet Secretary are Lachlan Hutchison, 24, and Veronica Keyte, 28. They are part of a group of trainees who started on the 22nd May 2017 on a paid, 6-month traineeship with the project and are based in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Veronica, from Alexandria, has recently completed a Countryside Management course with Scotland’s Rural College and is keen to develop her practical skills. Lachlan is from Glasgow and his mum works as a ranger at the National Park. Lachlan worked in a coffee shop prior to his traineeship and is keen to develop a career in practical conservation.
The trainees will be learning practical conservation skills which they will use to help conserve some of our National Parks’ most fragile upland habitats. This is the second year of the project and over the 5 years 36 trainees will work towards their SVQ level 2 in Environmental Conservation.
The National Park Partnership Plan outlines a set of priorities covering conservation, visitor experience and rural development, including:
To read the draft National Park Partnership Plan 2018-2023 go to www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/consultations
The 12-week consultation on the draft plan ran from 10 April to the 3 July 2017.