THIS week's Community Column comes from Gordon Watson, chief executive of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

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SPRING is definitely in the air and after a tougher than usual start to the new year, it’s a very welcome shift in seasons for most of us.

While we’re staying home to keep each other safe, the lighter nights and sunnier days are definitely helping to lift spirits.

And now that the Scottish Government has outlined its framework for moving out of lockdown, I know many people will be making plans to venture a bit further from home.

We know from last summer that after a long time staying home, people will want to explore some of the outstanding beauty right here in the National Park.

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From day trips to staycations, the National Park is one of the most popular visitor destinations in Scotland, within easy reach of more than half of the population.

We don’t yet know the full detail of how travel restrictions will change and until that time, people should follow the government advice regarding travel within Scotland.

However, when people are able to travel again, we will be ready to welcome them.

With partners such as local authorities and the police, we are getting everything ready so that when people do come to the National Park, we can support them to enjoy it responsibly.

Additional rangers and litter staff will be on the ground to help manage the pressures on local communities and the area’s unique natural environment.

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It has been fantastic to see more people discovering our beautiful National Park and the many recreation and wellbeing opportunities it provides during this pandemic.

We will also be working closely with local communities and businesses and supporting them as we begin to welcome visitors back.

We know there were additional pressures last season and we are already working hard to mitigate those pressures this year with resources such as additional toilets in the busiest areas.

We will ensure visitors have the information they need to plan their trip, to find appropriate spaces for parking and using the toilet, and to help us protect the natural environment that draws people to the National Park.

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