Scots are being urged to clean up after themselves following “unacceptable” scenes of littering as coronavirus travel restrictions were eased.
A total of 21 people were charged in connection with environmental damage at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park over the weekend.
Campers left behind broken glass and black bags full of rubbish, as well as equipment such as chairs and sleeping bags.
Irreparable fire damage was also caused, with one tree so badly burned it is likely to be felled.
At one site, 19 bags of litter were collected, with a further ten removed from another site.
Under national guidance people should not be camping until July 15, when the next phase of lockdown restrictions are lifted.
However with the five-mile travel restriction lifted and several beauty spots back open, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has teamed up with land managers, environmental experts and campaigners to call for more responsible behaviour from the public.
Simon Hodgson, Forestry and Land Scotland chief executive, said: “Although the travel limit has now been lifted, we are still in the process of getting staff back to work with new, safe-working practices that comply with the Scottish Government guidance.
“Many of our contractors are in the same boat so waste collection services might not yet be operational.
“And while many FLS car parks are now open, the toilets at some of our sites are not.
“So as Scotland gets re-accustomed to travelling further afield for leisure pursuits, we are appealing to the public to help avoid repeats of the selfish, irresponsible behaviour that over the past few weeks has seen many sites swamped by litter – or even despoiled by human waste.
“This sort of anti-social behaviour not only creates a significant health hazard but also eats into the limited resources that land managers have at their disposal.
“We would urge people to first of all think carefully about their travel plans, and secondly to behave like people who are proud to be able to call such a beautiful country home.
“Don’t visit sites until they are open and take your litter home.”
FLS’s plea is backed by Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Scottish Water, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage and Cairngorms National Park Authority.
As FLS returns to work in line with the Forestry Sector Restart and Resilience Plan, it has prioritised activities such as wildlife management, top-up spraying and ground preparation.
However, together with other land management organisations, it has started a phased reopening with most car parks now open, and some mountain bike trails.
Mr Hodgson added: “The sad thing is, many of the people responsible for the littering would say they were proud to live in Scotland, and yet as we have seen over the past few weeks, they treat our beautiful countryside in this contemptible manner.
“It’s not acceptable.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country