National Park partnership: three years and counting...

The John Muir Trust and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park are celebrating three years of successful partnership

Paddling at ardroy   (credit ardroy   derek prescott) detail

The John Muir Trust and the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park have worked together since August 2013. During the past three years the partnership has helped 4,350 people connect with the National Park, experience its unique landscapes and wildlife in different ways, and take care of its special wild places.

We have worked with 90 partner organisations to help deliver the John Muir Award, including schools, outdoor centres, and youth, community and employability organisations, as well as individuals and families.

John Muir Award participants have got to know Loch Lomond & The Trossachs in a variety of ways - from adventure and challenge across hills, lochs and woods, to taking time to appreciate the natural beauty and smaller details of the National Park.

Simon Jones, Director of Conservation & Visitor Operations at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “The John Muir Award helps people to experience the special qualities of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs first-hand and supports our education and conservation priorities at the National Park. It’s fantastic to see more people taking part in the Award as the partnership continues to grow.”

John Muir Award participants are also having a positive impact on nature in Scotland’s National Parks. A Conserve Audit conducted in 2015 across the UK found that the 4,740 Award participants completing an Award with support from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and Cairngorms National Park Authorities in 2015 contributed over 5,000 days of conserve activity.

This involved helping to care for Scotland’s wild places through practical tasks including improving over 21,000m2 of woodland, removing over 3,000m2 of invasive species such as rhododendron and Himalayan balsam, and planting almost 1,000 trees.

Award participants also contributed to surveys, providing valuable data for National Park projects, participated in environmental campaigns and took care to respect the areas they visited by leaving no trace.

Sam Chilcott, John Muir Award participant from Ardfern Learning Centre, said: “We didn’t realise how bad the litter problem was until we went about the whole place. I was annoyed to see how people just drop their rubbish anywhere.”

Lucy Sparks, John Muir Award Scotland Project Manager enjoys working with the National Park. She said: “We’re really proud of the partnership with the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and how John Muir Award participants are taking responsibility for looking after its inspiring places. They’re having such a positive and valuable impact on nature, and it’s always heartening to hear how people benefit from their Award experiences.”

Photograph:  Derek Prescott, Ardroy

National Parks Week (25 – 31 July) brings an opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate all that National Parks offer – adventure, exploration, recreation and learning. If you’re interested in getting out and about, why not visit National Parks UK for some inspiration and share via social media using #NationalParksWeek and #shareyouradventures