NATIONAL park bosses have sparked outrage after planning to ban camping on four islands in one of Scotland’s top beauty spots.
Critics have branded the move “draconisn” and say it is “wholly unnecessary”.
Authorities at the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park are considering banning campers from the islands, near Luss, during the summer months.
The new bylaw would extend a ban on “wild” camping at Loch Lomond Photo:Abubakr Hussain
They want to protect the wildlife on Inchmoan, Inchconnachan, Inchtavannach and Inchcruin (all corr) after falling foul of vandals and revellers.
But the chairman of the Loch Lomond Association (LLA), Peter Jack, said most visitors behaved responsibly and punishing them for the actions of others was “draconian”.
He said: “There is some litter left from time to time and one nasty habit that occurs occasionally is that people will bring cheap camping stuff to the islands ans just leave it or set fire to it before they go.
“But it only a minor problem and I think you will find it’s happening all over Scotland and not confined to Loch Lomond.
“The people most likely to clear it up are other users of the islands, who have a much more responsible attitude to the environment.”
The ban on “wild” camping is just one of three options being put on the table to protect the islands, which have Special Protection Area status due to their populations of osprey, otters and capercaillie.
Recent evidence suggests that the capercaillie population, which currently stands at just five on the islands, is declining following disturbance be people and dogs.
But Mr Jack argued that no proper argument had been put forward to stop people camping there.
He said: “People have been doing it for 100 years, and many generations have used the islands. The primary aim of the park is to preserve natural and cultural heritage. They are ignoring the heritage side totally. People don’t really want to use ‘Boy Scout’ camps when they are run for them. It’s not the experience people want at all.”
The Ramber’s Association has also opposed the camping ban.
The LLA has already criticised the park authorities for thief annual six-month anti-social behaviour crackdown, which began on Friday.
Police and rangers patrol the area to deter those causing trouble and bylaws prevent the drinking of alcohol in public and “wild” camping on the east side of the loch.
But in a statement the LLA claimed the camping ban meant a “small minority of drunken neds” had moved on to ther areas of the park.
A National Park spokeswoman dismissed the LLA’s statement, calling it “misleading and inflammatory”.
She said: “the protection of Loch Lomond is too important to be dismissed. The action on the east side shows what can be achieved when people work together and we would encourage people to visit the new facilities to show the difference that can be made.”
She added that a Loch Lomond Stakeholder Group had been established, and members included the LLA. She said the group had been involved in developing the bylaw consultation, with the plans being out for consultation until June 18.