Our website uses cookies throughout our system and to help us provide a better service. Continue to use the site as normal if you're happy with this, or click here to change your settings

Call for outdoor recreation champion

Wednesday 17th March 2021, 4:45pm

The Scottish Outdoor Recreation Alliance (SORA), of which Mountaineering Scotland is an active member, is calling for prospective MSPs standing for election to the Scottish Parliament this year, to pledge that outdoor recreation be fully supported, so that everyone across Scotland has access to the benefits and pleasure of being active in the natural environment.

SORA’s Manifesto for the Outdoors is calling for a new Outdoor Recreation Champion role to be created within the Scottish Government, to ensure everyone in society benefits from being active in nature. 

The new cross-departmental role is one of several innovative ideas within this joint manifesto, developed as a result of concerns over the long-term underinvestment in, and undervaluing of, the outdoor recreation sector. 

SORA’s Manifesto for the Outdoors also calls for:

  • A guarantee that every primary and secondary school pupil has at least one week away at an outdoor centre
  • Long-term strategic investment in infrastructure such as facilities, ranger services, education and skills training
  • More support for BAME communities and people in deprived areas to engage with the outdoors
  • The creation of a standalone fund for outdoor recreation, including paths and signage.

This call to prospective Parliamentary candidates is being made at a time when problems arising from low-levels of investment in this area have become increasingly clear, with the threatened closures of outdoor education centres and National Parks, local authorities and rural communities struggling to cope with increasing visitor numbers.  At the same time, the public has overwhelmingly shown how much they value the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, especially during the Covid-19 lockdowns. 

Mountaineering Scotland’s CEO, Stuart Younie, said: “It has become evident over the last year just how important outdoor recreation has been in contributing to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of people across Scotland. As we now look towards an exit from lockdown this manifesto is also an important reminder of the contribution outdoor recreation makes to the Scottish economy.

“We need to place greater value on the outdoors in Scotland as a significant national asset which requires investment to ensure it provides a high-quality visitor experience and maintains its reputation as world class tourist destination. 

“Along with our partners we are calling for more investment in paths and their maintenance, toilet facilities, and car parks to enable visitors to enjoy their activities safely and securely.  It is also vitally important that alongside this we plan for better public transport in rural areas to help prevent congestion on roads and at parking places, and to help meet targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

The manifesto was developed by Ramblers Scotland, British Horse Society, Cycling UK Scotland, Mountaineering Scotland, ScotWays and Scottish Canoe Association. It is also supported by The Outward Bound Trust, Scottish Adventure Activities Forum, Scottish Countryside Rangers Association, Scottish Wild Land Group, HorseScotland and Scottish Orienteering.

Mountaineering Scotland is the representative organisation for Scotland's hill walkers, indoor and outdoor climbers, mountaineers and ski tourers, with nearly 15,000 members and 160 affiliated clubs.

Become a member and support our campaigns on the issues that matter including access, conservation of mountain areas and mountain safety.

Membership is excellent value at less than £3 a month for adults, and includes insurance, a range of member discounts and offers, access to great value mountain skills courses, quarterly Scottish Mountaineer magazine and more. 

Join online to get a free gift and save 25% for your first year when you pay by direct debit (new members only, T&Cs apply).  Read more about our membership benefits.

Not a member? Join us