Managing Visitor Impacts at the Ski Resort on Aonach Mor

Client: Nevis Range PLC

Potential visitor impacts at the ski resort

There are up to 220,000 visitors annually to the ski resort on Aonach Mor, near Fort William, Scotland. Such levels of visitor use in the ski resort could lead to:
• An increase in the amount of bare ground
And thus to –
• Erosion that could increase sediment loading in streams used for generating hydro-electric power.
aonach mor

A condition of granting Planning Permission in 1986 was the implementation of a monitoring scheme.

The monitoring scheme

The ‘Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC)’ ecological monitoring and management system was used, which required the active participation of stakeholders, who identified issues and concerns and set quality standards that triggered prescribed management responses if standards were breached.

nes carried out the annual monitoring from 2002 to 2008. Attributes, including the trampled and bare widths of footpaths, vegetation cover on ski runs and around pylon bases, and erosion in ditches, were monitored annually and their responses to pre-set management prescriptions assessed, and reviewed as necessary.

Outcome

The detection and proactive management of the ecological changes taking place in the resort helped to limit the impacts of the development.