Rangers working in the Cairngorms National Park say this summer is the busiest and most challenging they have faced for visitor management issues.
Thousands of tourists have flocked to the park as lockdown restrictions have eased, with more people taking camping holidays rather than trips abroad.
The influx, coupled with some facilities remaining closed, has caused issues in hotspots including Glenmore and Loch Morlich where residents have complained about “dirty campers” who have left litter and human waste.
On World Ranger Day yesterday, the park authority said it is taking a “tremendous partnership effort” to ensure everyone stays safe during their stay.
The park has 13 ranger services protecting the area employed by a variety of organisations including local authorities, private estates, charitable trusts, grant aided by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).
For the first time in the park’s 17-year history, a group of seasonal rangers have also been employed directly by the CNPA.
Alan Smith, from the authority’s visitor experience team is co-ordinating the work of the seasonal rangers.
He said: “It’s great to see so many people returning to enjoy the park and, although most visitors are behaving responsibly, there are some that have been irresponsible in terms of their litter, human waste and fires.
“The park’s rangers have spent a considerable amount of time talking to people to help them understand what responsible outdoor access looks like as well as often having to cleaning up the mess that’s been left behind.”
Mr Smith said the authority anticipated that as lockdown eased there would be a need for additional “boots on the ground” to help ensure health guidance is adhered to and the environment is protected.
“Working to support existing ranger services, our seasonal employees are on patrol at key sites across the park and we know from land manager feedback that their presence is greatly appreciated. They certainly hit the ground running when they took up their roles back in June.
“We are fortunate here in the Cairngorms to have such a professional and experienced team of rangers both employed by others as well as directly by the CNPA.”