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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 12:48 GMT
Gearing up park's outdoor profile
Mountain biking
Biking, walking and sailing can prove a significant draw
Cycling and mountain biking form a major part of the outdoor tourism economy in Scotland, figures show.

Scottish Enterprise estimates more than 900,000 trips to Scotland each year feature cycling as part of the holiday.

A business summit in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is seeking to find ways to boost those numbers further, and develop park activities.

It comes as park authorities and the police launch a drive to crack down on irresponsible behaviour and vandalism.

The national park is currently working to promote walking, mountain biking and sailing, with "significant investment" to boost its reputation as a family-friendly cycling destination.

Park covers about 720 square miles including Breadalbane, Loch Lomond and the Argyll Forest
20 Munros, 20 Corbetts, 22 large lochs and two large forest parks
More than 50 rivers and large streams

Business leaders will hear from outdoor tourism experts from Canada at the summit.

Paul McCafferty, of Scottish Enterprise in Forth Valley, said: "Outdoor sports and activity tourism is undoubtedly an area with significant growth potential for Scotland's tourism sector.

"We are a country fortunate to be rich in natural assets such as rugged landscapes and green forests which, with careful planning, can be developed to attract more visitors and reap economic dividends.

"It is important to create sustainable projects that help to diversify and grow the economy, maximise the potential of the area and its communities and also support the growth of Scotland's priority sectors such as tourism and forest industries."

The summit is taking place in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in Aberfoyle.

Abandoned car
Authorities are also cracking down on vandalism and litter

Meanwhile, police have launched an operation to cut down on vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the national park.

Operation Ironworks is being run by Central Scotland Police, with park and Forestry Commission rangers, Strathclyde Police and Tayside Police.

Sgt Joyce Greenhorn of Central Scotland Police said: "There have been problems in the past with tents, cars, BBQs and bags of rubbish being abandoned.

"Trees have even been felled in order to have a fire.

"We want people to come here and have a good time, but they need to know what they can and can't do."

Sgt Greenhorn warned that forests, roads and every accessible loch would be checked.

A Forestry Commission Scotland spokeswoman added: "We want people to enjoy themselves but unfortunately a small minority of people are committing anti-social behaviour which causes damage to the surrounding area."

The six-month operation will include officers on bikes, road patrols and trained wildlife crime officers.

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