Public’s views sought on development of Slieve Bloom Mountains
NPWS seeks to enhance the visitor experience in the Slieve Bloom Mountains
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is currently consulting on the future development of visitor opportunities in the Slieve Bloom Mountains Nature Reserve.
Already offering a range of recreation opportunities, including part of the Slieve Bloom Way, the Slieve Bloom Mountains Nature Reserve has been identified as an area where there is some potential to enhance the visitor experience in line with nature conservation objectives.
Members of the public are invited to express their views on future development by taking part in an online survey.
“The Slieve Bloom region is famous for its scenic landscapes and popular walks which attract families and outdoor enthusiasts, and increasing numbers of tourists,” said Ciara O’Mahony, Regional Manager for the NPWS South Eastern Region. “The Slieve Bloom Mountains Nature Reserve is an integral part of the visitor experience, with the Ridge of Capard walk being one of the most popular in the area. Managing sustainable visitor access to the Nature Reserve is a key action which allows the NPWS to balance our core duty of protecting the Reserves’ conservation and heritage values with a need to provide facilities for outdoor recreation, education and interpretation. This is an opportunity for the local community to give us their views on the current and potential future visitor provision in the Nature Reserve.”
Public consultation is being facilitated by Outdoor Recreation NI, which is developing a Visitor Experience Development Plan for the Reserve on behalf of the NPWS.
Outdoor Recreation NI’s, Sarah Steer, said:
“As an organisation we have a wealth of experience in managing and developing sustainable outdoor recreation facilities and without question, the Slieve Bloom Mountains Nature Reserve is a key part of the visitor experience in the Slieve Bloom region. Enhancing the visitor experience at the Reserve can act as a catalyst to attract visitors, to the benefit of the wider region. However, we believe passionately that any new developments must respect the site’s protected status, and also meet the needs of the local community. During the Covid-19 crisis, local communities around the country have come to greater appreciate the benefits of access to local outdoor spaces. This is the time for people to share their views with us and so we would encourage members of the local community to complete the survey.”
A meeting to further explore ideas with the local community and interested individuals may, if possible and subject to any public health restrictions in place, take place in the near future.
The survey can be accessed here.