The need to combat path erosion, and to repair and maintain the paths on the Reeks is one of the priorities for the Forum, while securing resources and adequate funding will be essential to implement remedial actions in the short, medium and long term.
The Forum is considering all possible sources of self-sustaining revenue generating options in order to implement priority actions.
There is agreement in the Forum that path erosion and trail migration (where people walk beside or outside the path, resulting in extra damage, and wear and tear to the ground- cover vegetation) in the Reeks requires urgent attention. The Forum will also have to be able to raise matching funding in order to draw down grants in the future.
Footfall erosion damages protected habitats and species, water quality, agriculture, public safety; it lessens the ‘user experience’ as a recreation and tourism product, and adversely impacts on the visual amenity and landscape character of this unique resource. In the last few years, the deterioration of the Devils Ladder and other popular routes has been well documented, both in the local and national press. Increased pressure due to outdoor activities, recreational tourism and charity ‘challenge’ type events, as well as more dramatic weather patterns in recent years have all contributed to this erosion.
An audit of the upland paths, combined with a remedial plan and indicative costings took place in March 2015. This work was carried out by the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust.