26th June 2020
I would like to provide an update following this week’s announcement by the First Minister of further indicative dates for changes to lockdown restrictions.
These changes show that further good progress is being made on suppressing the virus and will be welcome news to many. At the same time, the shorter timescales for some of these stages does also present challenges in terms of reopening planning. While planning for the reopening of National Park facilities was already at an advanced stage, we have had to review our plans urgently in light of these indicative dates.
I appreciate that there may be some concerns among communities about the timing of these changes, in particularly the change in travel guidance, and hope to provide some reassurance on our plans and work to manage visitor pressures.
The indicative dates announced this week are:
• Travel distance restriction relaxed
• Self-catering accommodation and second homes (without shared facilities) permitted
• Outdoor hospitality (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice)
• People can meet in extended groups outdoors (with physical distancing)
• Households can meet indoors with up to a maximum of two other households (with physical distancing)
• Organised outdoor contact sports can resume for children and young people (subject to guidance)
• All holiday accommodation permitted (following relevant guidance)
• Indoor hospitality (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice)
Our priority for reopening will continue to be car parks and toilets first as these are the facilities that support the majority of visitors. This will be followed by sites and facilities used for more specific activities.
Our provisional timeline for reopening National Park facilities is:
Friday 3rd July
• All National Park car parks open • Toilets in key visitor areas open where possible (including some temporary provision)
Saturday 11th July
• Further toilets opening
• Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway reopens for launching and retrieval
Friday 17th July
• National Park campsites at Loch Chon and Loch Achray open.
These dates are provisional only for now and subject to all necessary safety measures being in place in line with Scottish Government guidance.
A decision will be made on the reopening of our Camping Permit Areas early next week.
Despite the move to easing of restrictions, we must remember that Coronavirus has not gone away and that we must all play our part in minimising risk of spreading the infection.
We are carrying out detailed risk assessments to ensure we have appropriate safety measures in place before these facilities open.
This is complex, particularly in light of the likely visitor numbers following the lifting of travel restrictions and summer holidays beginning. None of our facilities will operate as they did before and we will only open facilities once we are confident that it is safe to do so.
Managing Visitor Pressures
We continue to coordinate with our partners through the National Park Safe Recovery Action Group on both reopening plans and responding to visitor pressures on a weekly basis. Traffic management measures are in still in place at a number of locations around the National Park and are expected to remain in place to help manage pressures reactively following the easing of restrictions next week.
In terms of our own staff deployment our Land Operations Team continue to carry out site checks, clean ups and maintenance work in preparation for reopening. Our Rangers are out again this weekend on both land and loch patrols, both of which will be increasing from next week.
Litter continues to be a particularly frustrating issue, not just within the National Park, but in other popular visitor spots around the country. I know how disheartening it is to see this behaviour happening in the National Park.
We are developing a litter-focused strand of our Respect Your Park campaign in partnership with local authorities and are keen to work with our local communities on this. Further information on this will be provided next week.
There will be an opportunity for you to hear more about these plans in more detail at the (virtual) meeting taking place on Thursday (2nd July).
We will also be providing more information on our website as plans progress.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority
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