Countryside user groups in Moray are being encouraged to play their part in a forum that has pledged to continue to champion access to the local countryside.
The Moray Local Outside Access Forum (LOAF) has a core membership of 20 members with equal representation from public agencies, landowners and managers, community groups and countryside user groups.
There is currently three positions available on the forum – one for a land manager representative and two from countryside user groups.
Moray LOAF Convener Michelle Gillibrand says: “The Forum is an exciting opportunity to become directly involved in shaping the future of outdoor access in Moray.
“It provides a unique platform, to balance the needs and interests of local communities, groups and individuals living and wishing to access the outdoors and those of the access providers and the local authority.
“The Forum has been instrumental in planning for access, including the Core Path network within Moray.
“This has helped the long-term goals of safe and multi-user set of paths which give the people of Moray the benefit of outdoor access for recreation, sustainable transport and improved health.”
Over the past year the work of the forum has resulted in better links being created with landowners, contractors and local groups as well as visitors to Moray’s countryside. This included participation in the Gordon Castle Highland Games when 350 visitors were engaged in discussions..
The Forum has also created new links with community groups including community councils, with consultations also taking place with the Elgin and Forres flood alleviation scheme contractors which resulted in changes being made to the design of pathways to ensure easier public access.
Ms Gillibrand added: “Membership of the Forum is very rewarding, enjoyable and challenging but not an onerous one. There is no pressure to get involved with every part of the Forum’s activities we just ask that you attend a minimum of 4 meetings per year.”
For further details and membership application form contact: I M Douglas, Moray Access Manager, The Moray Council, PO Box 6760, Elgin, IV30 9BX, telephone 01343 557049 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications should be submitted no later than 13th February 2015