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First meeting of Cairngorms Local Outdoor Access Forum

1st April 2005

Members of the Cairngorms Local Outdoor Access Forum (LOAF) gathered in Grantown on Thursday 31 March for the group’s first ever meeting.

Following a recruitment drive by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), which began at the end of last year, members were officially appointed to the voluntary group in February.  The Cairngorms LOAF is made up of 21 members representing recreational, land management and community interests and includes three public bodies – Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and Visitscotland.

As the outdoor access authority for the Park, the CNPA has a duty to establish a Local Outdoor Access Forum.  The group’s purpose is to advise the Park Authority, and others consulting the forum, on matters to do with outdoor access rights, rights of way and a plan for core paths in the Park.  It can also offer to give advice towards the resolution of disputes over outdoor access.

Members have been appointed to the Forum for a period of two years but this will be reviewed by the group in due course – with guidance from the CNPA.  Until such times as the LOAF appoints its own chairman, the group is being chaired by Murray Ferguson, the CNPA’s Head of Visitor Services and Recreation.

Speaking at the meeting, Local Outdoor Access Forum member, Helen Geddes from Strathspey said: “The Cairngorms is a very special place for residents  and visitors alike.  We all need to look after and use the natural resources responsibly if we are going to be able to enhance them and continue to enjoy the quality experiences they provide. Having been involved in developing the draft Outdoor Access Code, this is a real opportunity to see the job well done and to take forward the more proactive parts of the new outdoor access legislation, such as developing the core path network linking communities, rivers, forests and the hills with appropriate routes and paths.”

For more information contact Karen Powell, Press Officer, Cairngorms National Park Authority Tel: 01479 870534 / mob: 07834 130253 [email protected]