Funding Boost for Red Squirrel Initiative in National Park
Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, the independent conservation and heritage charity for the National Park area, has made a financial contribution towards a joint initiative with the National Park Authority to showcase red squirrels which are of one of the Park’s best-known wildlife species.
The story of red squirrels and the real threats facing their survival is highlighted in an attractive new interactive display at Balmaha Visitor Centre and is linked to a Squirrel Scurry Trail nearby where visitors can discover more about one of Scotland’s most favourite native animals.
Funding for the initiative has come from the Friends of OUR park voluntary visitor giving scheme which involves local businesses such as the Oak Tree Inn in Balmaha collecting donations from visitors for a range of conservation, heritage and access projects.
This is the fifth project to benefit from the Friends OUR park scheme in Balmaha in recent years and follows on from substantial funding contributions being made to the village green upgrade, the popular Tom Weir’s Rest picnic area and mountain garden, the purchase and siting of a public access defibrillator at the Village Shop and Conic Hill path improvements.
Sandy Fraser, owner of the Oak Tree Inn said: “It is great to see thousands of visitors contributing so generously to a range of projects that are helping to improve amenities in the Balmaha area as well as increasing understanding and enjoyment of the area which is growing in popularity.’’
James Fraser, Chairman of Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, said: “We recognise the importance of supporting conservation and education projects such as this in the National Park. We are pleased to be partnering with the Park Authority to help introduce visitors to the red squirrel story at Balmaha Visitor Centre and along the associated squirrel trail which I am sure will have wide visitor appeal.’’
Charlotte Wallace, Volunteering, Education and Engagement Manager with the National Park Authority, said: “The red squirrel is an iconic native animal in Scotland and here in the National Park and we want to make sure that as many visitors and residents as possible know more about it and the importance of its protection from the non-native American grey squirrel.
“We are working with a number of partners and communities to improve the conditions for red squirrels across the National Park and we are pleased to receive funding support from the Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs for this latest red squirrel initiative.’’
For more information on the Friends of OUR park project: