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National park in Yosemite plan

Posted 14 November 2012
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National park in Yosemite plan
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In the decade since it was formed, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park has been the scene of some big decisions aimed at protecting its environment and idyllic nature. Those who enjoy nothing more than pitching a tent in the area may be particularly aware of this.

One key decision taken a couple of years ago was to tackle the problems of wild camping on the quieter, eastern shore of Loch Lomond, on a stretch between Drymen and Rowardennan. The authority banned the practice on this seven-mile stretch of shoreline in the warmer months of the year amid concerns over littering and anti-social behaviour, although there are official campsites in the area people can still use.

Now, there is a plan to go further, by developing facilities similar to those seen in the Yosemite National Park in the US. 

The 5 Lochs Visitor Management Plan will seek to tackle issues like litter, parking and damage to sites around Loch Venachar, Loch Lubnaig, Loch Earn, Loch Achray and Loch Voil, with each of these lakesides being equipped with new facilities for small campsites that will include extra parking, toilet facilities, recycling points, motorhome facilities and retail outlets.

Commenting on the plan, chair of the national park authority Linda McKay said: "The quality of what we offer our visitors needs to reflect the natural significance of this Park.

"The 5 Lochs Visitor Management Plan will help raise the standard of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to be on a par with our US counterparts such as Yosemite where visitor needs are catered for and the tourism industry has a huge impact on the national economy."

At this time of year walkers may be more concerned about making day trips in winter hats and thermal clothes before returning to the warmth of their homes, but while snow-capped mountains will offer idyllic scenery, others will yearn for the long and warmer days of summer when they can head to the national park with their tents.

The 5 Lochs plan has been developed with the help of the 2011 visitor survey of what people wanted to see more of. It found increased toilet facilities were the top priority for the public, with 29 per cent calling for this, followed by walking routes and places to eat on 28 per cent.