MORAY MP DOUGLAS ROSS is calling on Forest Enterprise to maintain way-markers in woodland in Moray and throughout Scotland.
On a visit to the Balloch Wood outside Keith yesterday, the MP heard the concerns from local people about Forest Enterprise’s plans to rationalise the path networks.
Mr Ross said: “It was good to see the investment that has been made in the past at the Balloch with way-markers offering accessible and user-friendly paths that allow walkers, horse riders and cyclists to enjoy open spaces. The benefit to social, physical and mental health that these opportunities offer cannot be overstated.
“I hope that discussions between Forest Enterprise and local user groups at the Balloch will result in a compromise where way-markers continue to be maintained so that the forest continues to be a welcoming place for people and horses to exercise.”
Mary Stelmach, chairwoman of the Balloch Riders’ Access Group, a group of riders who were largely responsible for creating the trails in the wood, said: “We fully understand the need of Forest Enterprise to manage their resources within budget.
“We are encouraged that by working with them, and with the support from Douglas, we have moved to a point where a compromise might allow the low-level path to remain.
“The community values the benefit to social, physical and mental health of these local open spaces – this is certainly recognised by health professionals, but not necessarily by other organisations.”