We are pleased to be able to publish and share the results of the Uist ranger project from the 2021 visitor season.
The increasing tourism in Uist each year and local community concerns about visitor management and conservation of the natural environment, inspired the formation of a partnership between community organisations on Uist seeking to find solutions to these concerns - landowner Stòras Uibhist and the development company North Uist Development Company (NUDC), the local council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) and RSPB Scotland. The combined effort resulted in a successful NatureScot funding bid (NatureScot Better Places 2) that provided the opportunity for two Seasonal Rangers to work on the islands and actively improve infrastructure and visitor management with the help of all project partners and local communities.
The Rangers were focused on applying a friendly information and educational approach with awareness raising, creating materials to inform visitors about the environment, responsible access to the islands and why it is important to work together to protect the environment. The Rangers also managed a variety of local events including beach cleans and citizen science events as a way to engage both local communities and visitors to the islands, encouraging ecotourism. An estimated 25x 1-tonne bulk bags full of litter was collected over the summer, with 122 joining the events - both locals and visitors.
Ameena Camps, North Uist Development Company said "We were so fortunate in being able to recruit two passionate, skilled and dedicated rangers who quickly adapted to island life and became part of the local community thanks to wide support across Uist. As a result, a lot was achieved in the short period of time they were here. The project highlighted the importance of Uist-wide collaboration and the need for a year round ranger service to continue their great work."
The Rangers report provides various recommendations, including:
NUDC aims to communicate project milestones and successes as widely as possible, and this news feed highlights key articles.