Pristine wilderness

Having witnessed “pristine wilderness” in Canada, I believe Scotland would benefit from having a “pristine wilderness” National Park, where no vehicular access is permitted (foot, horseback or canoe only).

Why the contribution is important

It would preserve the natural beauty of our country as well as conserving our native flora and fauna.

by FrankFagan on May 13, 2022 at 06:37PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.2
Based on: 15 votes


  • Posted by Lconnell May 14, 2022 at 10:15

    I believe there is also learning from the National Parks in the US. Vehicular access is permitted but is managed.
  • Posted by braeriach May 19, 2022 at 21:42

    But national parks in the US are crowded, and people visit them often having taken emmissions producing flights. I favour the Norwegian approach to National Parks. The Austrians do a decent job too. Costa Rica has a massive area of the country desingated as national parks, but I havent visited [those long flights again!] and dont know how well their system works
  • Posted by SueDalton May 21, 2022 at 12:08

    There has to be some pristine wilderness if the planet is to survive. We have to get away from the belief that as humans we have the right to access all areas. It is a selfish and short term pleasure that is contributing to the death of the planet.
  • Posted by JeremyHW May 22, 2022 at 09:04

    The balance between national parks as a human use resource that is managed and a pristine environment. Quite what a pristine environment really is can be argued. At what point in history did many of our natural forests start to disappear for timber and fuel? What species should be their? (Fauna flora). Does an ancient bothy detract from that level of pristine or add to it? For that matter what about archaeological remains? Yes I do believe that national parks must be pristine, but qualify that by referring to conservancy areas within the national parks. There is by necessity a hierarchy of areas within national parks : conservancies being no-go areas; then access by foot, horse or canoe; then access by cycle; only then access by motorised vehicle. The level of "pristine" has its challenges even where human habitation is involved. I was once asked to object to a fish farm off Kintyre because it was within sight in the distance of an historic mansion. We can have biological levels of pristine, even geological levels of natural landscape pristine. At its most base level is the degree of the pristine vista - in other words preserving the optimum views of our iconic landscape as celebrated by Landseer and others. That is the environment that is the core of our Scottish spirit and which visitors come in droves to see. The contradictions are obvious, but need consideration.
  • Posted by JanetMoxley May 24, 2022 at 12:24

    Almost nowhere in Scotland is "pristine wilderness" with a very few exceptions e.g the Cairngorm plateau high mountain tops; Atlantic woodland and undisturbed peatlands. Almost all of Scotland has been intensively managed for sheep, deer, grouse, forestry or fisheries at some point and in most cases this management is ongoing. There is a tendancy to regard iconic landscapes as "pristine" when they are not e.g wall to wall purple heather is not "pristine" - it's a heavily managed habitat, similar the "Big Tree Country" in Perthshire includes lots of planted areas and non-native species. While iconic landscapes may have tourism appeal they do not always maximise biodiversity or optimise use of "nature based solutions". Similarly remoteness does not equate to "pristineness" or wilderness. There is plenty of evidence of human influence on remote areas such as Fisherfield Forest, the Cairngorm glens and the Ben Alder area. Until the clearances these areas supported settlements at least on a seasonal basis, and probably all year round. This drainage ditches, stone walls, remains of cultivation and influence of fertilisation with manure or seaweed is still very evident and affects the habitats in these area. This is supplement in some cases by more building of tracks, shepherd's cottages, and shooting lodges. Preserving "prisine wilderness" is a good idea in principle, but would really only be applicable to the Flow Country and small areas of remnant ancient woodland. The Cairngorm plateau is too well used these day to really count as wilderness, although it is fairly pristine.
  • Posted by camusfearna June 01, 2022 at 13:46

    Under the IUCN definitions, there is no wilderness in Scotland as all of the land has been managed too one extent or another down the years.
  • Posted by slochd June 03, 2022 at 01:17

    Climate change has removed so called pristine wilderness ( a human construct if ever there was one). In the US - home of National Parks - in order to manage and preserve the nation’s national park lands, Congress passed the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. The Organic Act established the National Park Service as an agency under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior with the stated purpose of promoting use of national park lands while protecting them from impairment. Specifically, the Act declares that the National Park Service has a dual mission, both to conserve park resources and provide for their use and enjoyment “in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired” for future generations. Climate change means NP Managers cannot fulfil one of their two primary goals of leaving them unimpaired for future generations. But they can still provide for use and enjoyment. Scotland has conflicting legislation here - Rights of Responsible Access and Natural heritage designations. Whilst access does have an impact we need to better understand what other factors have the greatest impact and deal with them as a priority.
  • Posted by glasach June 05, 2022 at 17:29

    There is an idea being spread by certain organisations that most of Scotland was a "pristine" wilderness, covered entirely in trees. Preserving nature is important, but humans have a right to be here as well, we have been in the area since the Mesolithic. The climax vegetation in may areas after the last Ice Age was indeed trees, but not everywhere, and loss of tree cover since is due to climatic variations as well as to human activity. People and nature can co-exist, if properly managed - look at the North American Indians
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