Contributors to Parkswatch have, over the last 15 months, regularly highlighted the failures of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority to provide basic facilities for visitors. We are not the only people who have been saying this of course but in an extremely welcome development, Luss Estates, who I understand have been trying to influence the LLTNPA behind the scenes, have gone public. Their press release, about what went wrong at Luss over the weekend, is very powerful.
A link was also provided to a number of further photos (see here) which every politician in Scotland should take a look at and then start asking questions.
The problems, which were entirely predictable given the spell of fine weather we have been having, did not just affect Luss but were evident in other hotspots in the National Park. This point was well made in another welcome press statement from the Friends of Loch Lomond and Trossachs:
Visitors to the National Park are being ripped off by our public authorities and getting nothing in return
The connection between the LLTNPA’s failures to provide infrastructure for visitors and the camping byelaws
What needs to happen
James Stuart, in his speech to become convener, hinted that the LLTNPA need to change focus. He did not go far enough but his challenge now is to reverse the parrot like statements from the Park and the Scottish Government officials that the byelaws are here to stay, admit the LLTNPA has made a serious error which is preventing resources being spent where they are needed, and start engaging with organisations like Luss Estates, FOLLAT and the recreational organisations, as well as local communities, to develop a new approach.
The new National Park plan is the obvious place to start. The LLTNPA needs to “get back to basics” as FOLLAT puts it and stop pretending that they are some sort of business whose main purpose is to raise income for itself rather than cater for the needs of visitors. Parkswatch will feature a number of posts on the new draft Partnership Plan in the next few weeks and would encourage all those who have complained to the LLTNPA, to respond to it in due course.