Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park says it is preparing to welcome campers to its lochshores as the second season of camping management bylaws come into effect on 1st March.
The bylaws, initially trialled at the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, were rolled out more widely in 2017 in order to protect some of the National Park’s most popular lochshores from littering and environmental damage. According to the National Park Authority, there had been problems with high volumes of informal campers, littering, damage and antisocial behaviour going back a number of years.
However, the introduction of the bylaws to the National Park was highly controversial, with critics claiming that the new permit system offered insufficient spaces to deal with the needs of visitors and, crucially, that it set a dangerous precedent in eroding the rights enshrined in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
According to the National Park Authority, more than 16,000 people camped in the new permit areas and the newly created low-cost campsite at Loch Chon in 2017. Feedback gathered by the Park Authority from people who camped was positive, with 87% of those who responded said they would recommend staying in a permit area to others.
The National Park’s CEO, Gordon Watson said: “There will be some visible changes this year such as 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 which will provide further low cost camping opportunities at this popular spot.
“We’ve also made changes to our website and online booking system that will help improve the overall experience for people coming to camp.”
The bylaws will again be in force until 30 September. Wild camping is still permitted in the National Park in areas outside of the Camping Management Zones.