Non-renewable resources should be used wisely and sparingly, at a rate that does not restrict the options of future generations. A major call on non-renewable resources (particularly hydrocarbons) by outdoor recreation activities is the use of the motor car. Use of the car is central to the freedom and flexibility with which people enjoy open-air recreation. But we should aim to be less dependent on the car, especially for the more frequent short and medium-length journeys. The provision of better local access, especially where this can be reached on foot or by public transport, will benefit both the environment and the natural heritage, and should therefore be a key objective.
Renewable resources should be used within the limits of their capacity for regeneration. Many areas of natural vegetation, and some wildlife, are inherently vulnerable to the impact of too much recreation. Scotland lies at northerly latitudes, with harsh winters and cool summers, both of which inhibit quick recovery of damage to natural vegetation on high ground. ‘Carrying capacity’ refers not just to the physical impacts of people on land, but also to the risk of causing undue disturbance to valued wildlife, and sometimes to the loss of a sense of wildness or solitude—the very qualities that attract people to remote places. The practical implication of this guidance is that there may be a need for restraint on the use of the most vulnerable areas.