With 2014 rapidly approaching, many of you will be eagerly anticipating what is in store for the coming year, whether that be the year of Homecoming Scotland, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Tour de France visiting Yorkshire, the Ryder Cup visiting Gleneagles, or maybe even the World Cup in Brazil. Here at Loch Leven there is something altogether bigger than all of these events though, and that is the 50th anniversary of our declaration as a National Nature Reserve!
The world was a very different place back in 1964. The original purpose of NNRs was to protect the wildlife that inhabited them, but a crucial point that was missed back then was engaging the public in the natural world. Nature Reserves were generally managed as places for wildlife, not people, and visitors were asked to stay away to avoid disturbance. The idea of responsible access and using the natural environment as an educational resource is a relatively new concept that has really only been promoted since the Land Reform Act of 2003. With the birth of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code came a fundamental shift in the way Scottish Natural Heritage managed NNRs, and at Loch Leven this paved the way for our soon-to-be completed Heritage Trail.
These days we’re always keen to welcome new visitors to Loch Leven to enjoy the wildlife spectacles on offer throughout the year, and to enjoy the wonderful environment afforded to us here. Due to the spectacular wildfowl assemblage, and to our relatively accessible location to the majority of the Scottish population, in recent years we’ve established our reputation as one of Scotland’s spotlight NNRs. In this, our 50th year as an NNR, we’ll be celebrating in a variety of ways during the course of the year, and at a variety of events, including next year’s Discovery Day, which in effect will constitute our ‘Birthday Party’. So look out for updates on the blog, as plans develop to mark this momentous year in our local history.