Local politicians have backed proposals for a Galloway National Park.
A new national parks strategy for Scotland, which includes a proposal for a Galloway National Park, was made jointly last week.
Speaking after the launch of their report, MSP Alex Fergusson said: “Had the SNP not put the brakes on further national park development when they came to power in 2007, Scotland would already be benefiting from more than just the two original national parks.
“In 2007, plans were well underway for the development of a National Marine Park, for which the Solway was a prime contender but, sadly, the SNP brought those plans to a grinding halt.
“The time is right to renew this call. In Galloway we already have three National Scenic Areas, a National Forest Park, the highest mountain outside the Highlands, the Dark Sky designation and the Biosphere as well as a stunning diversity of lowland and coastal landscape.
“As the report Unfinished Business states, ‘This diversity makes Galloway an outstanding example of the type of fine landscapes Scotland has to offer beyond its classic and best-known Highland scenery’.
“The case for a Galloway National Park is a very strong one – particularly since the need to protect the remaining natural wild land of Scotland has never been greater.”
Dumfries and Galloway Labour MP Russell Brown also welcomed the growing support for a national park in Galloway.
He said: “I very much welcome the growing support for a national park in Galloway. Too often people view rural Scotland as just the Highlands and areas such as Dumfries and Galloway are forgotten.
“Yet there are few more stunning places for a national park than Galloway. It would not only protect some of the best landscapes in the world but would be a real boost for one of most important local industries – tourism.
“It has always astonished me that there are only two in Scotland and the time is now right to change that.
“The parks covering Loch Lomond and the Cairngorms have been a real success and given that 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, there has never been a better time for a Galloway National Park.”