Statement from Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, on the first season of the Camping Management Byelaws:
“The seasonal camping byelaws were introduced to protect the Park’s precious lochshores and improve the experience for visitors. From the positive feedback we’ve gathered through visitor surveys to what our Rangers have experienced by talking to campers on the ground during the first season, we are pleased with how things have gone.
“Nearly 15,000 people camped in the new permit areas and more than 2,000 at our new campsite at Loch Chon. Feedback surveys were sent to everyone who camped and, as well as getting a strong response rate, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. 87% of respondents said they would be likely to recommend staying in a permit area to others while 92% said they would be likely to recommend the Loch Chon campsite.
“The approach of our Ranger Service is always engagement and education first, with enforcement action only being taken as a last resort. That approach has worked well, with the vast majority of campers choosing to adhere to the byelaws. While warnings were issued, the number was small in proportion to the overall number of visitors and only a very small number of people were then reported to the Procurator Fiscal.
“During the season, we responded to visitor feedback and made improvements to the operation of the byelaws. That has continued throughout the winter with further input from visitors, communities, staff and partner organisations being used to inform improvements for next season.
“We are committed to adding more low cost camping spaces around the lochshores, and plans are under way to open another informal campsite on the Three Lochs Forest Drive near Aberfoyle. We will also be looking to add more permit areas over the course of the season.
“Camping is a fantastic way to enjoy and experience the National Park and we look forward to welcoming many more campers in 2018.”
The byelaws were introduced because the volume of visitors to these easily accessible lochshore areas, plus the antisocial behaviour of some campers going back many years, has a major impact on the environment and the experience of other campers and visitors.
The byelaws create Camping Management Zones around some of the Park’s busiest lochshores.
The byelaws are seasonal, only in place from March to September
They cover less than 4% of the National Park.
You can still wild camp responsibly outside of these zones
Between March and September, it is still possible to camp in these zones in campsites or in a camping permit area.