National Park facilities are set to begin opening for visitors this week in line with the expected easing of lockdown travel restrictions but visitors are being reminded that it won’t be business as usual.
Anyone considering a visit to the National Park from this week is being urged to think carefully, check information and plan ahead.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority has published a provisional timeline for a phased reopening their visitor sites and facilities over the next three weeks following the changes to Phase 2 restrictions announced by the Scottish Government last week.
The timeline sets out provisional target dates for reopening subject to appropriate safety measures being in place and confirmation of the indicative dates outlined by the First Minister.
If those steps are in place, the National Park will begin by opening all of its car parks this Friday (3rd July) along with some toilets in key visitor hotspots. This is likely to include some temporary toilet provision to supplement existing public toilets and allow for physical distancing.
Reopening plans are also being co-ordinated with local authorities to ensure parking management is in place at popular locations.
Following that, the National Park Authority aims to open up further toilet provision and more specific facilities such as the Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway in Balloch and campsites over the coming weeks.
The provisional timeline is:
A decision is to be made this week , based on Scottish Government guidance, on when to open the National Park’s Camping Permit Areas which allow for camping within areas of the National Park designated as Camping Management Zones between March and September each year.
Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of the National Park Authority, said: “I share everyone’s relief that Scotland has made such good progress in reducing the spread of infection that we can take further steps to move out of lockdown and I know people will be looking forward to coming back to the National Park.
“However, we must all remember that Coronavirus has not gone away and we all have a part to play in moving out of lockdown safely together. We are asking anyone considering a visit to the National Park to do their bit.
“While we are putting in measures to keep people safe, anyone considering a visit to the National Park must think carefully before they come and know what to expect. A visit to the National Park this summer simply will not be what it was before. This is not business as usual.
“In response to Scottish Government announcing that some of the dates for restrictions lifting could be brought forward, we have reviewed our plans for reopening, which were already at an advanced stage, and aim to begin opening facilities to support visitors and communities from this week.
“Our priorities are to open car parks and toilets first as these are the facilities that support the majority of visitors. This will be followed by sites and facilities used for more specific recreation activities where we need to set up socially distanced user arrangements.
“Facilities are not all opening at once. This goes for those that we manage as well as those run by our partners and local businesses. Physical distancing and extra hygiene measures must be followed, this is especially the case when using public and temporary toilets. Please only use these if you have to.
“It’s absolutely vital that people take responsibility for their behaviour and what they bring with them. If bins are full or there are no bins the right thing to do is to take your litter home. Likewise, if car parks are full, don’t park on roads. If you arrive and it looks too busy then it is too busy. Don’t add to the chance of the virus spreading in crowded areas. We will be doing our best to provide updates to the public when car parks are full.
“We will also be continuing our close partnership working with Police Scotland and local authority parking enforcement teams, who alongside our Ranger team will be helping people to act responsibly and comply with local regulations.
“We’re urging everyone considering a visit to think, check and plan ahead before they come and will be providing detailed information on our website from this week to help them.”
More information and advice for those planning a visit to the National Park from 3rd July can be found at www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/visitors