Enhancing the conservation value and the visitor experience at Cairngorm and Glenmore – in the Cairngorms National Park – is at the heart of a new strategy to manage the publicly owned land in this special place.
Giving a clear framework for land owners, businesses and public agencies and setting out clear principles to guide the future direction for managing the area, the Cairngorm and Glenmore Strategy was approved by members of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) Board this morning (Friday 30th September).
The Strategy is also being taken forward for approval by all partners involved, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Forest Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and The Highland Council.
The actions set out will ensure that the Cairngorm and Glenmore area of the National Park continues to make a substantial contribution to the economy of the Park and for Scotland, as well as being an outstanding place for recreation and for nature.
Short term actions include enhancing the ski area by improving storage and removing disused items of equipment from the hill, de-cluttering of signage in the area, enhancing key views through selective tree felling and increased collaboration between businesses to improve cross promotion and therefore better marketing of the area. Longer term the strategy sets out plans for the expansion of woodlands, moving to a single integrated ranger service, improvements in infrastructure and ensuring there is less reliance on accessing the area by car.
The Strategy will be followed up by more detailed spatial plans led by Forest Enterprise Scotland for Glenmore and Natural Retreats for Cairngorm Mountain, which will set out the detailed proposals for improving visitor facilities, paths and car parking.
Cairngorm and Glenmore – with neighbouring Rothiemurchus – sit at the heart of some of Scotland’s most important nature conservation sites, attracts over 1 million visits per year and already contributes £172 million to the economy of Badenoch & Strathspey.
Peter Argyle, Convener of the CNPA Board said: “In short Cairngorm and Glenmore is an enormously special place for conservation and somewhere we expect to grow in popularity with visitors. I am therefore pleased that partners have come together to set out how we can manage this area effectively to keep what is special and ensure future generations continue to enjoy it. There is no doubt we need to invest in continuing conservation management and ensuring the quality of visitor experience matches the outstanding environment.”
Graeme Prest, for the Forest Enterprise Scotland team in the area, said: “The partnership has developed a more collaborative approach that can only be good for nature conservation. We are already seeing the practical results of this approach with woodland steadily expanding up the hill towards the natural tree-line.
“This collaborative approach also works for improving the quality of the visitor experience. The visitor centre will remain in its current location and we will make the most of the opportunities that offers. But we will first of all focus on ‘de-cluttering’ signage and making general improvements around Glenmore village.
“The great response to the consultation shows that people are supportive of the partnership’s ongoing efforts and that is very encouraging.”
David Oxley, Acting Director of Business and Sector Development at HIE, said: “As a partner in taking forward the strategy, HIE recognises the importance of the Cairngorm and Glenmore area for visitors and the economy. The strategy helps to guide the future direction for managing the area so that it continues to provide a world class visitor experience, engaging business and community groups and providing a high quality environment.”
The Cairngorm and Glenmore Strategy has been produced following a public consultation, which took place between December 2015 and March 2016, and has already been agreed by the Cairngorm and Glenmore Partnership (see notes). To read the board paper in full, please visit the CNPA website: http://cairngorms.co.uk/meeting/board-2016-09-30/