‘Respect Your Park’ Initiative launched by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs for National Park Week.

Every year the National Park system celebrates the benefits of our green space here in the UK but this year Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park are also highlighting the issues that plague our nature areas. As National Parks Week kicks off today (Monday 25th July), the Respect Your Park initiative running in conjunction with Forest Enterprise Scotland and Police Scotland, will focus on issues of littering and highlighting the need to follow responsible camping practices while in the park.

 

While such issues can affect national parks across the UK, Scotland’s first National Park, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs has often voiced concerns over problems with litter, fly-tipping and wild camping and so the campaign hopes to address issues caused by visitors and overnight campers. Tackling things such as abandoned tents, noise levels, fire safety as well as knowing appropriate practices for going to the toilet will all be part of the initiative.

While the Park hope people will continue to utilise the resources that are on offer it is hoped that publication of leaflets and advertising as well as a social media campaign will help highlight that while individuals can take advantage of right to roam provisions in Scotland, they must also follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and explore responsibly. As well as informing visitors and raising awareness, there is also a reminder of the serious nature of ignoring guidelines, with Park Rangers now able to issue littering penalties at £80 or, for cases of fly-tipping, a £200 notice.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform highlighted the effects that disregard for our parks could have.

“Dropping litter blights our communities and coastlines, tarnishes our beautiful landscapes and harms our wildlife and natural assets. Littering is simply unacceptable and that is why our action to tackle it includes powers for the National Park Authority to issue £80 penalties to those who flout the law.”

While the parks hopes to curb increasing incidents it is also hoped visitors or campers will learn why certain activities can be damaging or disruptive and that this will in turn lead to a greater appreciation of the environment as well.

Explaining the impact on wildlife the park’s publication notes:

“Litter always ruins a good view and can harm wildlife. It’s easy to do the right thing – bag it up and take your litter home. Consider picking up other litter as well. It is an offence to drop litter in the National Park. If you are found liable you may be fined …”

This year’s National Parks Week runs from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 July 2016 and is focused around the of adventure.

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Kirstin McEwan
Current Wildlife Conservation Masters student and former Environmental Stewardship graduate with interests in wildlife conservation and science communication

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