Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority is rolling out measures to help alleviate visitor pressures at its Tarbet Pier picnic site.
The site has become increasingly popular with visitors in recent years, particularly for those visiting the area in campervans and motorhomes.
A Pay & Display charging system is now operational at the car park, together with signage advising visitors of appropriate use of the car park and two new bins.
Visitors will be able to park for 30 minutes (50p), two hours (£1), four hours (£2) or all day (£4).
Priority parking for school drop-offs and collections will be in place during term time, with no charge for parents/carers dropping off or picking up from Arrochar Primary School.
Car parking charges are already in place at other locations within the National Park and are common practice in most National Parks across the UK and beyond. Funds raised from the parking charges will contribute towards maintaining and investing in quality sites across the National Park.
Kenny Auld, Head of Visitor Services at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “The National Park is a world class visitor destination and we want people to have an experience that matches that reputation. Generating sustainable income streams that can be invested back into the National Park, such as those from visitor parking, allow us to provide and maintain quality facilities and experiences for communities and visitors.
“As with all tourist hotspots, we also need to carefully balance the management of visitors with the needs of the local community and businesses. The Tarbet picnic site was originally designed for day visitors arriving by car and in coaches, so its growing popularity as an informal campervan / motorhome overnight facility has made it more difficult to balance competing user needs.
“In recent weeks, we have used on-site signage, targeted patrols from National Park Rangers and community wardens, and social media messaging to engage with people using the site and to direct campervan or motorhome users to more appropriate overnight sites nearby.
“These measures are already making an impact. The new charging system, introducing dedicated motorhome spaces and continued engagement with motorhome visitors will further help relieve pressures at this busy visitor site in Tarbet.”
The National Park Authority is also working on medium and longer-term projects to contribute to the overall offering for motorhomes in the area. Two designated bays will be established at the car park for campervans/motorhomes to pay to stay overnight and discussions are underway with local stakeholders to pilot an ‘aire’ scheme in and around Arrochar and Tarbet, where campervan / motorhome visitors could park overnight and use services such as waste disposal.
In the coming years, the Park Authority says it is planning to deliver further improvements to the layout and facilities available at the site. This work will be informed by a masterplan being drawn up for the site and work will start in 2022/23.