People heading to the countryside as lockdown restrictions ease are being urged to respect nature after “unacceptable” behaviour last year.
Scotland’s environment agencies are calling on people to follow the three simple principles behind the Scottish Outdoor Access Code – care for the environment, respect the interests of others, and be responsible for your own actions.
It comes after some areas were blighted by litter, human waste and abandoned campsites left by anti-social visitors last year.
Organisations including NatureScot, VisitScotland, Forestry and Land Scotland and the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national parks have launched a new campaign urging people to “respect, protect and enjoy” Scotland’s countryside safely.
Francesca Osowska, NatureScot chief executive, said: “We firmly believe that the vast majority of people visiting Scotland’s outdoors just want to have a great time, and enjoy our fantastic scenery and wildlife without harming nature or spoiling the adventure for others.
“Many people may not be aware of their rights and responsibilities, or how their actions can affect nature, local communities and other visitors.
“Last year’s scenes of abandoned campsites, burned out trees, human waste and litter were totally unacceptable and a blight on Scotland’s reputation.
“Our campaign is asking all outdoors visitors to respect other people, protect the environment, and enjoy responsibly.”
The campaign also urges people to go to the toilet before travelling as facilities may not be open where they are going, and to be prepared to take their waste home if on a longer trip.
People are advised to remember physical distancing when outdoors, avoid crowds and have a back-up plan if their first choice of destination is too busy.
Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “It has been great to welcome visitors from further afield back to the national park now that travel restrictions have lifted and I want to thank everyone who has enjoyed the park responsibly for playing their part in protecting this special place.
“The high volume of visitors we are now experiencing does bring with it challenges and while we have additional resources in place, we need everyone who visits the park to play their part.
“Litter, fly-tipping and human waste cause real problems for wildlife and spoil the natural beauty that draws people here.
“We will continue to encourage visitors to plan ahead and to leave nothing behind after their trip.”