Summer has arrived and as many thousands of people venture into the outdoors to enjoy our beautiful beaches, forests, parks, mountains and lakes, Leave No Trace Ireland is encouraging everyone to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.
Maura Kiely, Manager with Leave No Trace Ireland, says “This is a great time to enjoy and celebrate our scenic countryside and the many activities we can do in the outdoors, but we should also try to minimise any negative environmental impacts we may cause by planning our trips a little better and adhering to a few simple messages”
You’ll have a more enjoyable experience if you do a bit of research beforehand. Choose a location with facilities to suit your group. Bring plenty of fluids and foods that are easy to prepare. If you’re thinking of doing an outdoor activity like walking, canoeing or swimming, plan this in advance and make sure you have the necessary skills and equipment.
With good weather, people love to picnic, barbecue and party in the outdoors. To avoid the damage that can be caused when fires get out of control, people are encouraged to use established campsites and existing fire rings, or the tidal zone on beaches, and to avoid lighting fires outside designated sites.. Disposable barbecues should be used with care. They should be placed on sand or rock, as disposable barbecues will burn surfaces such as grass and picnic tables. People are also urged to take all their rubbish home as nobody wants to see litter in scenic areas.
Many people love to take their pet dogs into the outdoors and while this may be fun for the dog, it can create problems for other recreational users or local farmers. If you are planning to take your dog into the outdoors, you are required to keep your pet under effective control at all times. The presence of a dog causes stress to farm animals, so it is best not to take dogs onto farmland or mountain areas, especially where sheep or cattle are grazing.
With so many people driving into the countryside to visit scenic spots, car parking can be a real issue. This can cause problems, not only for visitors but for local residents. To prevent parking problems, people are encouraged to use public transport where possible, or to car-pool and use car parks. Avoid blocking gateways as farmers may need access to their fields, and on narrow roads remember to leave enough space for large farm vehicles or the emergency services to pass by.
Finally, summer time is a busy time in nature, with lots of breeding birds and active animals, our wildflowers are also in full bloom. We hope you get out and enjoy Ireland’s wonderful natural environment this weekend. Do your best to Leave No Trace of your visit by taking care of the environment and being considerate of other people and wildlife.
More information on responsible outdoor recreation and the Leave No Trace Ireland education programme is available on www.leavenotraceireland.org