Rangers are to restart patrols of the Cairngorm National Park this spring for what officials believe will be another busy visitor season.
The board of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) have approved £236,000 in funding to secure a seasonal ranger service from March to October.
The scheme will create nine jobs as well as five placements for young people seeking a start in this type of career.
Each warden will support existing services underway across the park during what is expected to be another busy visitor season.
A seasonal ranger service was first established in 2020 in response to the high numbers of visitors coming to the National Park after the first lockdown was lifted.
Grant Moir, Chief Executive of the CNPA said: “Given that people are highly likely to opt for a staycation again this year, we aim to establish a seasonal ranger service again in 2021.
“We need budget approval to do this now so that the recruitment process can get underway with staff trained and ready to go in time for Easter.
“Land managers, estate workers and ranger services were stretched to the limit in 2020 so it was with much gratitude that our team of seasonal rangers were able to hit the ground running and help out in particular hotspot areas. We want to be able to do this again for 2021.”
Rangers were faced with their busiest and most challenging summer to date last year following issues with visitor management.
Thousands of visitors flocked to the Highland based park last year as lockdown restrictions eased, with some generating issues relating to fires, litter, human waste and traffic problems.
Officials say “the extra ‘boots on the ground’ proved invaluable in 2020” in urging visitors to act responsibly amidst the pandemic.
To enhance the service, a further £3,000 has also been endorsed for five ‘Kickstart’ Youth Placement opportunities.
The funding has been secured through a collective UK National Parks bid.
CNPA board convener Xander McDade added: “Visitors are essential to our economic recovery and while we love to welcome visitors to the Park, we want to ensure that everyone has a great time, respects the Park, its communities, landscapes and wildlife.
“I am particularly delighted about the recruitment of five young people through the ‘Kickstart’ scheme providing valuable employment and training opportunities. This reinforces the CNPA commitment to supporting youth employment opportunities to ensure we have a park for all.”