The National Park is visited by millions of people each year for the wide range of experiences and benefits it offers. However, the volume of visitors can also create pressures. Managing these pressures is a key priority for the National Park Authority and our partners.
“The most popular parts of the National Park which experience pressures are managed to ensure that the quality of environment, visitor experience and community life are protected and enhanced.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and easing of lockdown restrictions brought a significant rise in visitor numbers and associated pressures to the national park in summer 2020. When further lockdown restrictions eased in spring 2021, the National Park again saw a similar surge in visitor numbers.
Visitors particularly from Scotland and the UK, sought opportunities to enjoy the outdoors after an extended period of time at home and ongoing restrictions on overseas travel and the use of public transport due to COVID-19, led to increased demand for staycations and reliance on cars and motorhomes. However it was recognised that the volume of visitors, and the irresponsible behaviour of some, creates pressures around the National Park.
A significant amount of work by a range of partners has gone into preparing for the 2022 visitor season, when we expect the trend of increased domestic visitors to continue. This work has been driven by the National Park Safe Recovery Action Group, led by the National Park Authority in partnership with Police Scotland, Forestry and Land Scotland, Transport Scotland, West Dunbartonshire Council, Argyll and Bute Council, Stirling Council and Perth and Kinross Council.
A Joint Response Visitor Management Plan has been prepared by the group setting out the extensive range of measures and resources being put in place across the National Park this season.
While this plan primarily focused on the 2022 season, it is also recognised not all challenges will be resolved in one year.
Work is ongoing and will continue with all key partners and stakeholders on developing longer term solutions.
You can read more about the work of the National Park and our partners in our Visitor Management Review of 2021. You can also read about last summer and how that led to the Joint Response Visitor Management Plan in our Visitor Management Review of 2020.