Wednesday, September 6 2017
Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, the independent conservation and heritage charity for Scotland’s first National Park, is supporting efforts to improve mountain paths in both of Scotland’s National Parks with a pledge of £20,000 over 4 years.
The Mountains and the People project is led by the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland working in partnership with Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and both Loch Lomond & Trossachs and Cairngorms National Park Authorities. The project was established in June 2015 and has already undertaken a raft mountain path upgrading works in both National Parks. With a team consisting of both staff and volunteers, its work has included upgrading well used mountain paths in the Trossachs as well as recent improvements at the Lauder Monument path at Invernoaden in Cowal, which has seen the existing wooden steps replaced by sturdier stone ones.
The Friends is providing the funding through the pioneering Friends of OUR park visitor giving scheme, which involves over 100 businesses throughout the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park collecting donations from visitors by a variety of means including opt out donations on overnight accommodation and menu items in cafes and restaurants.
James Fraser, Chairman of the Friends said:’’ We are delighted to be supporting this very valuable mountain paths work which is providing trainees and volunteers with an opportunity to learn new skills as well as making a real difference to the overall quality of heavily used paths throughout both National Parks.
“Our visitor giving mechanism provides an ideal platform for many thousands of visitors who enjoy the extensive path network to give something back and it is encouraging to see how many are willing to do so through Friends of OUR park donations.’’
Outdoor Access Trust Chief Executive, Dougie Baird is excited by the possibilities that lie ahead for the Mountains and The People initiative which includes a range of opportunities to involve more people directly in caring for mountain paths in Scotland’s National Parks.
He said: “Already, within our first two years, we have seen the project grow into a thriving initiative which promises to deliver much more during its remaining period. Our capital and activity programmes have delivered over £2m of works to date and we have several projects in the pipeline. However, with over £3m work to complete in the coming three years that is where support from organisations like the Friends come in.
“We very much appreciate this generous annual donation from the Friends and thank them most sincerely for their support. We already have a strong relationship with the Friends – we even inherited our Balloch office from them when we were set up. It is vital that groups like these work together for the future of the National Park and we look forward to continuing this relationship in the years to come.”