Forestry workers in the Highlands are urging people to stay local after “log-jams” at snowy spots in the past few days.
With fresh flurries of snow arriving in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park to coincide with mid-term holidays, people are being asked not to be tempted to break the rules.
Forestry and Land Scotland’s Glenmore team is reminding people that they should stay local and not travel far.
The call comes as skiers and snow-boarders flock to the slopes in the area and create “log-jams” of inappropriately parked cars that increase the levels of risk for visitors, local people and forestry staff.
Cairngorm Mountain snow resort is closed under lockdown rules, but this hasn’t stopped people travelling there to ski, snowboard and sledge. Hundreds of cars have been left at access roads.
FLS regional visitor services manager, Paul Hibberd, said: “We’re all for people getting outdoors for some exercise and physically distanced fun but everyone should remember to stay local and follow SG essential travel guidelines.
“However, despite the fact that local businesses and facilities in the Glenmore area are still closed under the current Covid-19 restrictions, we’ve seen hundreds of people descend on the area over the past week.
“The roads around Glenmore have been crammed with cars, with many people parking in inappropriate and potentially dangerous places.
“This is putting pedestrians at risk and it’s potentially putting drivers at risk and it could also place additional burdens on the emergency services, should they need to access the area to help anyone who gets into trouble.”
As well as parking up on a new, £250,000 pathway and forcing pedestrians back on to the road, drivers have been parking on roads not yet cleared of compacted snow, which runs the risk of their not being able to drive out – especially in the event of further snowfalls.
Mr Hibberd said: “People are still welcome to visit one of our forests for exercise and fresh air – but this should not be at the potential expense of anyone’s safety.
“Stay local, be considerate, follow the Covid-19 guidelines and always have a ‘plan B’ destination in case your first choice is too busy for you to safely park when you arrive. Visit our website to find a forest near you.
“With the mountain road closed, there is extra pressure on parking space in the glen and our ability to keep all car parks clear of snow is limited at the moment.
“Whichever forest you visit, do take some extra care in the icy conditions.”