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Ahead of the May Day weekend and the imminent holiday season, Forestry and Land Scotland has thanked the majority of visitors to its forests who display responsible and considerate behaviour.

However, it has criticised the minority whose thoughtless, and sometimes illegal activity – as evidenced at some locations over the Easter weekend - has a disproportionate impact on the experience of other visitors, on staff and on wildlife .

Littering is a criminal offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1980, and damaging trees is a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004.

Stuart Chalmers, FLS’ Visitors Services Manager, said;

“In readiness to welcome around 10 million visitors each year, our staff work exceptionally hard to look after over 300 visitor destinations, so we greatly appreciate the many thousands of visitors who know how to behave appropriately on a day out.

“They treat our forests, our staff and other visitors with respect – being courteous and considerate, causing no damage, taking their litter home and leaving no trace. They also stay safe by visiting forests that are open and that are not still closed because of storm damage. This all goes a long way to helping everyone enjoy their visit and in helping our staff and our partners to do their jobs.

“Keeping our destinations looking their best involves our rangers spending thousands of hours making thousands of visits to our destinations, including campsites and our Stay the Night car parks, so if they have to then spend time clearing up other people’s mess, that has a knock-on effect.

“So we’d like to say a big thankyou to all the people who, by behaving responsibly, are working with us to keep our forests looking beautiful and ensuring that they continue to be amazing places to visit.”

FLS asks that visitors take their litter home with them for proper disposal, use portable camping stoves instead of lighting fires and to leave trees intact. 

However, there are some visitors that are not aware of their responsibilities when visiting the countryside. In peak holiday periods, when many FLS destinations welcome thousands of visitors every week, this lack of awareness can result in unsightly littering: last year, at one of our more popular sites (Roseisle, near Elgin) saw around 1500 visits in one day….and left Rangers having to clear up 80 bags worth of rubbish.

Anyone witnessing examples of inappropriate or criminal behaviour should not intervene but report the incident to site rangers, to FLS’ Regional Teams or to Police Scotland.

Visitors are also reminded to check the FLS destination pages before heading off so that they can check which forests might have restricted access because of storm damage or clear-up work.


Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 07785 527590 or