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Leading experts ask ‘Is world famous Scot John Muir and his legacy relevant today?’

26th February 2014

‘Thousands of tired nerve-shaken, over civilised people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home: that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers but as fountains of life’ (John Muir)

2014 marks the centenary of John Muir’s death and the year of Homecoming. In honour of this truly influential Scots born figure and as part of our Homecoming celebrations, Scotland’s National Parks and conservation bodies have come together to create a one-off international conference that will explore our approaches to managing protected areas and National Parks and ask ‘Are they delivering for our 21st century society?’.

The conference will be held in Perth Concert Hall on the 12th and 13th May 2014 and includes study tours to a range of conservation and visitor management projects in Scotland.

International expertise from John Jarvis, Head of the US National Parks Service will combine with views from leading UK experts including Nigel Dudley from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and thought provoking thinkers such as George Monbiot to examine the management of our most precious and at risk landscapes.  Scotland’s National Parks have a strong socio-economic aim.  The conference will explore whether this model and others like it have impacted on the development and success of protected places across the world.

Fiona Logan and Grant Moir, Chief Executives of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and the Cairngorms National believe this is ‘an exciting opportunity to put Scotland’s National Parks on the global map and examine our current practices of managing protected landscapes and discuss shared issues with UK and international colleagues.’

Ian Jardine of Scottish Natural Heritage said this event has the ‘potential to share issues and explore innovative solutions in natural heritage management.’

The conference is supported by Homecoming Scotland 2014 and is a collaboration between Scotland’s two National Parks, Scottish Natural Heritage, John Muir Trust and the National Trust for Scotland.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “John Muir is one of the world’s most influential conservationists, and it is fitting that we should celebrate this great Scotsman’s legacy during the year of Homecoming. From a tourism point of view, Scotland’s stunning scenery and wildlife are hugely popular among visitors from all over the world and our National Parks play a vital role in this. The John Muir Conference will bring organisations together to discuss the best way forward, ensuring that our landscapes and wildlife will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Full details of the conference can be found at

Speakers include:

  • Jonathan Jarvis
    National Park Service Director, USA
  • George Monbiot
    Writer and campaigner
  • Nigel Dudley
    Ecologist and vice chair of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas
  • Dr Mike Cantlay
    Chair of VisitScotland
  • Professor Jason Leitch
    Clinical Director of the Quality Unit (Health and Social Care)
  • Louise Macdonald
    Chief Executive of Young Scot