Matt (centre)


Portree businessman Matt Harrison has launched a campaign to try and save the under threat Highland Council Ranger Service.

In an open letter the boss of A.C.E. Target Sports says:

"Dear all

In light of recent proposals to delete the Highland Council Rangers Service as part of the Council’s budget cuts, I wish to voice my objections to this and hope you will join me in doing the same. Though they may not be statutory, the Rangers Service helps to facilitate so many statutory obligations as well as providing an invaluable service to highland communities by bringing together the two things that make this such a special place to live and visit – the environment and its people.

"The Rangers Service is one of very few front-facing sectors within the Council working on the ground who are popular, respected and efficient in what they do within local communities. Their work in schools and with community groups is essential to instil a sense of ownership and pride in the local area, and plug so many holes which exist in education and social care. For example this year alone the Ranger Service delivered nearly 300 guided walks and events, were involved in almost 400 school projects as well as a wide array of community led projects, and directly engaged with over 8000 primary school pupils.

"They also work with and support some of the most vulnerable groups in our communities, and maintain hundreds of core path routes and Council owned sites (e.g. car parks, view points etc.). I have attended a number of Ranger walks and events and on each there has been a mix of locals and tourists. All have been incredibly interesting, insightful and allowed me to visit places, experience wildlife and learn about the culture and history of the Highlands in a way that would be impossible without this service in place.

"If you are also concerned about this proposed cut and are willing to help, I ask you to please email your objections to those elected by you to make the final decision. Please also copy in the Director of the Ranger Service (Stuart Black). Here are all the details you need:

• Stuart Black, Director of Development and Infrastructure This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• Cllr Audrey Sinclair – Chair of Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• Cllr Margaret Davidson – Leader, Highland Council This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• Cllr. Isobel McCallum – Convener, Highland Council This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• Cllr. Maxine Smith – Leader of the Opposition . This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• David Alston, Leader Liberal Democrats This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• Jimmy Gray (leader Labour Group) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• Derek Mackay (cabinet secretary for finance) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
It would also be really helpful if you could:
• Contact your own local Councillor – you can find your Councillor and their contact details by ward here – http://www.highland.gov.uk/councillors/ward
• Like and share the ‘Support our Countryside Rangers’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Support-our-Countryside-Rangers-1…/
• Contact your local Community Council and get them to object. A list of community council contacts is here - https://www.highland.gov.uk/directory/20/a_to_z