Lothian Regional Council established the Pentland Hills Ranger Service in 1976 as a precursor to the designation of a Regional Park.
Originally the Ranger Service operated in Hillend and Bonaly Country Parks and the reservoirs owned and operated by Lothian Regional Council Department of Water and Drainage. As well as environmental education and interpretation, the Ranger Service was involved in fisheries management on Lothian Region reservoirs, including the operation of two fish farms. These activities ceased in 1986. The Ranger Service also ran a sailing school at Harperrig reservoir until 1994.
Staffing levels have varied over the years, peaking with 14 full-time staff and three seasonal staff in the mid 1990's. Local government re-organisation in 1997 saw Lothian Region discontinued and the Regional Park management replaced with a Joint Committee, comprised of elected members from the three local authorities whose administrative area lay within the agreed Park boundary. Also in 1997, the Pentland Hills Voluntary Ranger Service was formed.
In 2003, the minute of agreement between the three local authorities was revised and further staffing changes made.
In 2012, the Pentland Hills Ranger Service and the City of Edinburgh Council Ranger Service merged to form the City of Edinburgh Council Natural Heritage Service, but still referred to as the Pentland Hills Regional Park Service within the Park.
Currently the Service operates with:
- two Senior Natural Heritage Officers (0.5 post manages the Regional Park)
- eight Natural Heritage Officers (former Countryside Rangers: four officers dedicated to the Regional Park)
All staff are employed by the City of Edinburgh Council, who act as managing authority for the Regional Park.
The Service continues to
- design and deliver an event programme
- create innovative interpretation
- liase with farmers and landowners
- supervise and train Volunteer Rangers
- lead conservation groups
- plan and manage access and recreation
- write and implement Biodiversity Action Plans
- patrol the hills and engage with visitors.