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Camping restrictions return in national park

Friday 23rd February 2018, 2:29pm

The controversial camping management byelaws in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park will come into effect for their second season on 1st March.

The seasonal byelaws cover certain parts of the National Park between March and September.

Against much opposition, the byelaws were introduced in 2017, the Park Authority claiming they were necessary to protect some of the area’s most popular lochshores from antisocial campers and environmental damage caused by the high volume of visitors.

The byelaws create Camping Management Zones, covering some of the most popular parts of the National Park, including the section of the West Highland Way along the east shore of Loch Lomond.

In the management zones, between March and September, campers need to camp in a designated camping permit area or a campsite. In 2017 there was much criticism of the lack of permitted camping sites, their unsuitability for camping, and the lack of facilities.

The National Park Authority is reminding anyone coming to camp this season to be aware of the byelaws and plan their trip in advance.

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “We’re pleased with how things went last summer. The feedback we received through our online surveys and what the Rangers experienced from speaking to people face to face was overall very positive.

“But we know that the camping byelaws are still relatively new so it’s important that we continue to make people aware of how they work and encourage them to plan ahead.

 “We have continued to gather feedback from a broad range of people over the winter, including visitors, communities and partner organisations and are using that to inform how things work for 2018.”

He said there would be new pitch surfaces, better water facilities, and connectivity for online bookings at Loch Chon campsite. “There will also be some additional signage in places where people told us it was needed to make the Camping Management Zones clearer.

“Work is also underway to build another new low cost campsite at Loch Achray in time for the peak summer season.

The byelaws also cover irresponsible firelighting, including cutting down trees and the removal of dead wood which is damaging to the environment and wildlife. Anyone planning to have a campfire should bring their own firewood and keep fires small, under control and away from tents and buildings.

Wild camping, in accordance with the Outdoor Access Code, is still permitted outside of the Camping Management Zones. There are also private campsites throughout the National Park offering a full range of facilities.

Permit spaces for motorhomes are available at Firkin Point, Inveruglas and the Three Lochs Forest Drive in the Trossachs.

Laybys can be used to stop and rest (including sleeping overnight if necessary), but should not be used for longer stays.

To find out more and book a permit go to www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/camping