People are being urged to think twice before considering heading to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park this weekend as the area is not yet ready for large numbers of visitors and facilities will remain closed.
While national lockdown restrictions on some non-contact outdoor activities are easing from today (Friday 29th May), people are being reminded that they should not be travelling long distances and avoiding popular beauty spots and crowded places, as set out by the First Minister in yesterday’s briefing.
The National Park Authority and key partners are working together to spread the message that with only some activities allowed and facilities still closed the time is not yet right for large numbers of visitors to the area.
All visitor facilities and services around the National Park will remain closed this weekend including car parks, public toilets, visitor centres, the Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway on Loch Lomond, and campsites.
People considering coming are asked to think carefully about their potential impact on the place and other people if they were to visit right now.
Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “I know how much people are missing the National Park and the great outdoors right now and that for many this is their go-to place. It’s easy to see why and that the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions means that the idea of heading straight out to your favourite places to enjoy your favourite activities is incredibly tempting.
“But we must all remember that we are only in the first phase of some restrictions lifting and that the advice is not to travel more than five miles from home for your exercise or recreation activities.
“We also need people to recognise that the National Park has been on lockdown too with visitor sites, facilities and many businesses closed. These are remaining closed for now in keeping with Scottish Government guidance.
“That means the National Park is not ready, nor is the time right, for large numbers of visitors to arrive at popular places, many right on the doorstep of small rural communities.
“While more outdoor activities are now allowed, if the idea of a day trip or a hill walk or loch activity is on your mind this week please think very carefully about whether it is the right thing to do. The activity itself may be allowed but we are urging people to think through the other facilities you would need which are not yet available for you to use.
”There is also the pressure you could be putting on local and emergency services. That includes activities where there is a risk of needing emergency rescue services if people get into difficulties. Please consider waiting a little longer.
“We all want to move out of lockdown but we need to do this safely, together and we all have a part to play in that.”
The National Park Authority is working with a number of key partners including Police Scotland, local authorities, Transport Scotland and Forestry and Land Scotland to coordinate information and a phased reopening of facilities. However this will be a gradual process.
Many local businesses also remain closed or are only operating limited services.
Gordon Watson added: “We are working together with our partners on plans so we are ready to open and operate other visitor facilities safely when the time is right but this will only happen gradually and in line with national guidance. Our priority is to consider the safety of those using facilities, those working in and around them and the communities nearby them. Everything will reopen in time but we are urging people to be patient for now.”
For more information please go to our Advice to Visitors page