Skye and Raasay Committee briefed on Visitor Management Plan progress
At today’s Highland Council Skye and Raasay Area Committee, The Highland Council’s, Tourism Coordinator updated Members on the Visitor Management Plan progress.
In response to last summer’s significant rise in Motorhome and Wild Camping numbers in the Highland area, The Highland Council has developed a multi-service Visitor Management Plan and allocated £1.5M to implement it. A key part of that plan is £300,000 for the establishment of a ten-person Seasonal Access Ranger team. This team will cover a third of the Scottish land area or nearly 26,500 square km. Working in collaboration with a number of partners The Highland Council’s Outdoor Access Manager submitted a bid to NatureScots Better Places Green Recovery Fund for a further seven posts and were successful in securing the additional funding.
The bid was made possible by a collaborative effort from SkyeConnect and other partners and has enabled The Highland Council to employ an additional seven Ranger posts. A redistribution of the original ten posts will allow for a greater spread across the Highlands. Three Rangers will cover the Skye and Raasay area.
On chairing the committee on 31 May, Cllr John Finlayson said: “The summer season has well and truly got under way this bank holiday weekend and it is great to finally be welcoming visitors back to Skye and Raasay. It is reassuring for both Members and the public to be updated on the Visitor Management Plan progress and to hear that work to improve the visitor experience is being implemented. The Seasonal Access Rangers will certainly help to educate the public on the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and to keep Highland Council operated facilities clean and tidy. However, we must be realistic in acknowledging their capacity, remembering that they are not emergency services and that people must behave responsibly and keep the beautiful landscape clean and tidy for all to enjoy.
He added: “The short-term measures in place in Skye and Raasay for 2021, include:
- Improvements to verges, passing places and parking
- Seasonal Access Rangers to encourage good practice
- Increase in public conveniences via new toilets and the comfort scheme
- Waste disposal schemes at campsites and new facilities
- An increase in bin capacity and frequency of collections at popular locations
The longer-term plans to improve infrastructure, park and ride and transport links are proactive responses to visitor management and with investment will allow Skye & Raasay to remain a welcoming and inviting place for people to visit.The Visitor Management Plan works hand in hand with the Skye and Raasay Investment Plan to build a robust Skye and Raasay Future.”
The Access Ranger team can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning the Senior Rangers on 07881 298503 for the South (Skye, Lochaber & SW Ross)