In a joint effort to encourage responsible enjoyment of the outdoors and protect the fragile habitats of the Outer Hebrides, Community Land Outer Hebrides (CLOH) partnered with Urras Oighreachd Bharbhais, Urras Oighrechd Charlabhaigh, Urras Oighrachd Ghabhsainn, North Harris Trust, West Harris Trust, and the Uig Development Trust. Together, they successfully managed a seasonal Visitor Management Warden project. Made possible by funding from NatureScot's Better Place Fund 4, this project targeted the promotion of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and the Outer Hebrides is a Special Place campaign.
As part of the project, two dedicated Wardens, Claire and Iain, were recruited to engage with visitors encouraging responsible outdoor recreation and educate visitors about the unique landscapes and fragile ecosystems of the Outer Hebrides. Their role included disseminating information, providing guidance, and ensuring compliance with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
A visitor survey was conducted as a critical component of the project. Its aim was to gain valuable insights into visitor behaviors, needs, and opinions, which would inform ongoing efforts to manage visitor numbers effectively.
The survey results provided an insight of visitor preferences, areas of successes, and opportunities for improvement. The data, the collaborating organizations working with key local stakeholders can now develop informed strategies to strike a balance between preserving the environment and facilitating a positive visitor experience.
The success of the collaborative Visitor Management Warden project is a testament to the commitment of the organisations involved. By promoting responsible outdoor behavior, facilitating education, and engaging with visitors, this project contributes to the long-term sustainability of the Outer Hebrides' natural beauty. With special thanks to Wardens Claire and Iain , who enthusiastically embraced their roles, managed the challenges that arose, and whose efforts led to the success of the project.
Click the link below to access the full report, to delve further into the survey results and the impact of the project.
This project was supported by NatureScot, through the Better Places Fund