A campaign has been launched to urge outdoors fans to respect nature and other people as lockdown 2021 restrictions are eased.
Scotland’s environment agencies – including NatureScot, Visit Scotland, Forestry & Land Scotland and the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Parks – are calling for walkers, runners and campers to follow three simple principles.
These are the based on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and include, "care for the environment"; "respect the interests of other"; and "be responsible for your own actions".
Record numbers are expected to enjoy Scotland’s great outdoors and nature again, especially with a second holiday season about to start.
The agencies are also aware than in 2020, antisocial and irresponsible behaviour by a small minority of visitors had a big impact on nature, local people and other visitors.
Francesca Osowska, NatureScot Chief Executive, said: “We firmly believe the vast majority of people visiting Scotland’s outdoors just want to have a great time and enjoy our fantastic scenery and wildlife without harming nature or spoiling the adventure for others.
"Many people may not be aware of their rights and responsibilities, or how their actions can affect nature, local communities and other visitors.
“Last year’s scenes of abandoned campsites, burned trees, human waste and litter, were totally unacceptable and a blight on Scotland’s reputation.
"Our campaign is asking all outdoors visitors to respect other people; protect the environment, and enjoy responsibly.”
Respect campaign for outdoors enthusiasts
The latest campaign advice includes:
- Follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code – you have rights but also responsibilities.
- Plan in advance for your trip. Some places might be busy so have a backup plan ready.
- Go before you go as toilets might not be open. If you are on a longer trip, be prepared to take any waste home with you.
- Be kind to nature and each other. Litter is dangerous for wildlife – make sure to take it all away with you.
- Bag it AND bin it. -Take it home when bins aren’t available.
- Paths are shared with others. Be prepared to slow down to let others pass safely.
- Avoid the crowds - if it looks too busy it is too busy.
A welcome back – but a call for respect
Another agency, Forestry & Land Scotland, is also keen to welcome everyone to enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors.
Chief Executive, Simon Hodgson, said: “After what has been a very challenging year for us all, we know that across the country, people are champing at the bit to get back to enjoying Scotland’s unmatched tourism offering.
"We’re pulling out all the stops to help everyone enjoy a great visit and the chance to breathe deep of some fresh air.
“But making sure that everyone enjoys a great day out is down to each and every one of us. We, like many other landowners, faced significant challenges last year and we hope that this summer everyone is more aware that while Scotland is for everyone to enjoy, it is also up to everyone to respect and protect."
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Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.