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Wednesday, 5 July, 2000, 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
Parks bill becomes law
Working on a path
National parks will protect Scotland's countryside
The bill introducing national parks to Scotland has completed its passage through the Scottish Parliament.

It will result in the country's first national park at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs being opened next year with a park in the Cairngorms expected to follow.

Environmentalists, who have campaigned for more than half a century for national parks in Scotland, are celebrating the move.

Environment Minister Sarah Boyack said it was important for Scotland to catch up with the rest of the UK in having special areas of countryside and heritage fully recognised.

Preservation priority

"Scotland has come late to the concept of national parks, but this has given us the benefit of learning from others - both from the success stories and from the mistakes," she said.

"We are now in the enviable position of being able to develop our own way forward which reflects both local and national needs, learning from the experience of countries throughout the world."

Funding for the national parks will come from the Scottish Executive and will ensure that "preservation holds sway over commercialisation".

It was a Scot, John Muir, who exported the concept of national parks to Banff in Canada 150 years ago, but he never lived to see the idea become reality in his homeland.

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