Tuesday, August 9, 2022
NewsEnvironmentAlmost £1.5m in funding for extra rangers at Scots nature hot spots...

Almost £1.5m in funding for extra rangers at Scots nature hot spots this summer

SCOTS nature hot spots are set to receive a staffing boost this summer with a new injection of Government funding to support visitor management.

Many of the most popular natural sites in Scotland will receive funding worth almost £1.5m from the Scottish Government to help safeguard the environment for visitors and locals.

The NatureScot Better Places Green Recovery funding will go directly to 48 countryside, coast and island projects across Scotland, enabling an additional 94 rangers and 15 visitor operations staff to be employed this summer across Scotland.

NatureScot hopes the extra bodies will help manage visitor pressure at sites across the country.

A ranger helping out youngsters at Loch Ken.
The new funding will enable an additional 94 rangers and 15 visitor operations staff to be assigned to sites across Scotland. (Image supplied with release by NatureScot)

Funding has been awarded to 35 organisations – 10 community groups, 13 local authorities, nine voluntary sector bodies, two countryside trusts and one private company.

It follows additional investment in rangers and visitor operations made this year by NatureScot, Forestry and Land Scotland, the National Park Authorities and Scottish Water to support the management of busy outdoor places such as the National Nature Reserves, Parks, reservoirs and forests. 

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said: “It is great to see and hear the breadth of organisations that are receiving support from this funding.

“The Scottish Government is in constant dialogue with relevant parties about the challenges caused by large numbers of campervans and wild campers in key hot spot areas.

“It’s clear that the countryside rangers are having a significant positive impact in educating and encouraging visitors on how they can enjoy the countryside responsibly.

“This not only preserves our scenery and landscape, it also takes the pressure off our local communities and provides an informative welcome to incoming visitors.”

Bridget Jones, NatureScot’s Paths and Projects Manager, said: “This staffing boost to support the management of Scotland’s busiest and most popular natural and scenic areas is great news for everyone this summer.  

“Scotland’s landscapes and wildlife are one of our biggest visitor attractions and with this investment we can connect people with nature and help everyone responsibly enjoy some of the country’s most spectacular locations, while ensuring that we protect and respect the places we visit.”

A similar scheme funded 127 seasonal staff last year, and NatureScot has stated that this made a significant difference to addressing irresponsible parking, camping, fires, toileting and litter issues in many rural and coastal areas popular with staycationing tourists.

Its success in improving visitor experiences, and reducing visitor impacts on local communities and the environment, led to the further funding allocated for seasonal staffing in 2022.   

VisitScotland and partner organisations will be using a range of mediums to educate and inform people about issues related to visiting nature hotspots this summer, such as water safety, fire safety, dog control and wildlife disturbance.

NatureScot says that the overall aim is that visitors respect, protect and enjoy Scotland’s outdoors this summer.

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