THE YEAR of Natural Scotland has begun with the announcement of £2.9 million funding for projects across Scotland’s National Parks.
First Minister Alex Salmond told Parliament last week that the extra funding will help boost the appeal of the parks as tourist destinations. Cairngorms National Park attracts 1.4 million visitors each year contributing £115 million to the local economy, while Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park attracts four million visitors each year, contributing £153 million to the local economy.
Cairngorms has received an additional £2.31 million while Loch Lomond and Trossachs has been given £580,000, for projects that will bring significant economic, environmental and tourism benefits.
At the Cairngorms National Park, the funding will support around 25 projects, including path improvement work in the Angus Glens, Glenlivet, Aviemore and Glemore. Improvements will also be made at the Nethy Bridge Ranger Base and Braemar Castle in Deeside, while funding has been committed to a new visitor centre at Laggan Wolf Trax.
Cairngorms National Park Convener Duncan Bryden said: “We are delighted to have secured this money for ‘shovel ready’ projects across the Cairngorms National Park, which will bring about many benefits for communities and visitors alike. This news is all the more welcome as we approach our 10th anniversary and we reflect on what has been achieved in the last decade and what we still aim to do.
“Better recreational opportunities, better community facilities and projects that will preserve and enhance our cultural heritage are the winners this time round and I look forward to seeing these coming to fruition in 2013 and 2014, thanks to this additional funding.”