Mountaineering Ireland Integrates Leave No Trace

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In recent years the number of participants in hill walking and mountaineering activities has increased substantially. This in itself can be a source of stress to certain upland environments. Consequently, responsible use of the uplands by recreational visitors is fundamental as well as the importance of valuing and protecting our upland landscape and ensuring sustainability of local communities. It is for these reasons that Mountaineering Ireland has taken the opportunity to work closely with Leave No Trace Ireland to promote the 7 principles amongst its members and the wider mountaineering community.

Mountaineering Ireland has been using the message of Leave No Trace in a variety of ways to promote and inspire responsible use of Ireland’s delicate environment, the most popular of which seem to be the Leave No Trace Awareness Sessions. It runs Awareness Sessions at most of its events, such as Spring Meet and Autumn Meet and will be promoting Leave No Trace during its Summer Meet in Innertkirchen, Switzerland this year. It has also provided Awareness Sessions to its clubs, which is then included within its scheduled walks programme for the year.

In the last year, Mountaineering Ireland has developed a one day workshop that is offered to each environmental officer within each club (130 clubs in total). The workshop consists of: an informational presentation on Occupiers Liability, a discussion on local access issues and a Leave No Trace Awareness Session. The environmental officers then feedback the information gathered during these workshops to the members of their clubs. It has used the 7 principles of Leave No Trace to provide the backbone to a document that it uses to help assist the organisers of charity events and challenge walks in planning an environmentally sustainable event. To date the response to this document has been very positive and has allowed Mountaineering Ireland to work closely with a number of popular events to promote responsible use of the Irish environment.

As well as providing training directly to their environmental officers and other members, training on Leave No Trace is also included in the Mountain Skills training courses and other informal training courses overseen by Bord Oiliúint Sléibhe otherwise known as BOS, which is a sub-committee of Mountaineering Ireland.

Mountaineering Ireland’s magazine, The Irish Mountain Log, has also played an integral role in the promotion of Leave No Trace amongst its members. It included the Leave No Trace Information Leaflet in one of its editions and will be featuring 2 of the principles in each of the next 4 publications, starting this Autumn.

Its website and all informational material also feature the Leave No Trace Ireland logo and a link to the website. It is primarily through Leave No Trace that they explain what a responsible user is. Aodhnait Carroll, Access & Conservation Officer, Mountaineering Ireland stated “The Leave No Trace message is an effective and valuable method of explaining and teaching the importance of protecting and preserving Ireland’s natural heritage and we look forward to continuing to promote this in the years to come”.

For more information on Mountaineering Ireland, please visit www.mountaineering.ie.

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