A team of seven Highland Council access rangers will continue to patrol and do field, main trail and visitor prep work throughout the winter.
Over the summer, the council’s seasonal access ranger team patrolled much of the Highland Council area and helped reduce the impact of thousands of visitors on local environments and communities. The access rangers welcomed and hired nearly 20,000 people, informed them of the region and the services available and advised them on responsible behavior. They encountered 8,600 tents and 24,500 motorhomes and identified and removed the remains of 3,500 fires, 4,200 toilet sites and over 2,000 bags of fallen trash.
There has been a lot of positive feedback from communities, members, organizations and visitors for the work of the access rangers with calls for the service to continue in 2022.
Council members recognize the benefits of access rangers and have pledged to extend funding for the visitor management plan until 2022 with a one-time investment of Â£ 1.5million. Consultations will take place with municipal departments to determine specific funding allocations.
Funding allocated to the outdoor access team for the remainder of this fiscal year will allow five access guards to continue working until April 2022. They will help access officers make improvements to the rural site. and the main trails. The work program is to be confirmed but the roads from Ceannabeinne and Melvich to Sutherland, Swiney Hill to Caithness, Fyrish, Torridon and Strathpeffer to Ross-shire, Tomich and Fort William are expected to undergo maintenance.
In addition, two more access rangers will continue to work until April 2022 thanks to further funding opportunities. One in partnership with Visit Inverness Loch Ness and SSE, who will continue to work in the Loch Ness region and the other will help identify opportunities for biodiversity enhancement and community food production on land managed by the council. .
Destination plans for sensitive areas including Morar / Arisaig, Durness and Glen Brittle will be developed for the 2022 season. Further maintenance work is likely to take place in Ardvreck, Strathy, Duntelchaig, Duntulm and Gruinard with d ‘other areas to be confirmed.