Funding of £750,000 is being invested in NatureScot’s National Nature Reserves (NNRs) in preparation for visitors this summer. Up to 20 additional rangers and other staff are also being recruited to welcome people back and help them to respect, protect and enjoy our great outdoors. This is in additional to the new rangers already announced by both the Cairngorms National Park and Highland Council.
More than a million people are estimated to have visited one of the nature agency’s 29 National Nature Reserves in 2020, a record number that is expected to increase this year.
With coronavirus restrictions set to be eased at the end of April and a very busy spring and summer expected, preparations are in full swing.
The Scottish Government funding will support visitor management on NNRs, including improving and maintaining paths, signs, toilets and visitor centres.
Ben Ross, NatureScot’s Head of Protected Areas and Nature Reserves, said: “After what has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone, we’re looking forward to being able to welcome people back to our beautiful nature reserves as soon as it is safe to do so.
“It’s great to see that more and more people are discovering the outdoors and the value of connecting with the wonderful landscapes and nature we are lucky to have here on the doorstep in Scotland.
“The huge increase in numbers has inevitably led to some challenges however, particularly in “hot spot” areas. This investment will help us to better meet those challenges to ensure that everyone can enjoy and get the best out of what we have to offer.”
Ben’s top tips:
- Follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code – you have rights but also responsibilities too.
- Plan in advance for your trip. Some places might be busy so have a back-up plan ready.
- ‘Go’ before you go as toilets might not be open. If you are on a longer trip, be prepared to take any waste home with you.
- If you are camping use a camping stove to help us prevent wildfires.
- Try not to disturb any wildlife you see. Lots of birds nest on or near to the ground so keep a good distance if you spot any.
- Litter is dangerous for wildlife – make sure to take it all away with you.