New Volunteer Ranger Service launched in Dublin Mountains as major new walking trail project unveiled

22 June 2009

Friday 19th June, 2009: Éamon Ó’Cuív T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs today officially opened the first section of the Dublin Mountains Way walking trail and launched the Volunteer Ranger Service at an event in Tibradden Woods.


Given the distinctive location of the Dublin Mountains at the edge of our capital city, the Dublin Mountains Partnership has a strategic role in developing rural recreation for the benefit of local communities and visitors alike.


It also fits well with the National Countryside Recreation Strategy, which under the stewardship of Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has a role in attracting even more visitors to Ireland for outdoor activities and developing sustainable local jobs in the process.


The establishment of a long distance trail across the Dublin mountains from Shankill in the east to Tallaght in the west, over 38km of trail, is one of the flagship projects of the Dublin Mountains Partnership (DMP). The Dublin Mountains Way has been an objective of the local authorities for close to twenty years and with the formation of the DMP it has begun to be realised. 


At the event the Minister said: “Walking routes such as this have the capacity to attract even more visitors to Ireland for outdoor activities and to develop sustainable local jobs in the process.  Fáilte Ireland’s statistics reveal how resilient the walking tourism product is in this country which despite the recession has  shown dramatic increases in overseas visitors in the past five years. “


A second key project is the launch of the Volunteer Ranger Service.  Enhancing the visitors recreation experience will be greatly assisted by the introduction of the volunteer ranger service, who will act as the DMP presence on the ground especially at weekends and high usage times.  Their work will involve patrolling and giving information and advice to visitors, promoting the Leave No Trace message, helping out with events and assisting in the overall management of this wonderful resource.  Twelve people from the local and outdoor community have come forward for training and have committed between 2 to 4 days per month. 


Also speaking at the event, Bill Murphy, Chairman of the Dublin Mountains Partnership said: “that the trail and the launch of the volunteer initiatives represent important steps in the process of developing recreation on these wonderful public lands”. Murphy added that “these lands not only deliver recreation but are also important sources of timber, water and include areas protecting nature and other cultural heritage and all the partners must be complimented on their vision in coming together”.


The first section of the Dublin Mountains Way opened today links Coillte’s Tibradden, Kilmashogue and Cruagh forests and includes the new Tibradden Mountain Trail constructed last autumn with financial support from the Dept. of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. 


Volunteer engagement is important for the DMP and three other trail projects are happening because of volunteer involvement.  The Cruagh Mountain Access Route is nearing completion by Mountain Meitheal volunteers, work on another section of the Dublin Mountains Way will commence shortly with work undertaken by Mountain Meitheal volunteers; and a further section was upgraded recently by Google employees as part of their volunteer week.


The Dublin Mountains Partnership is a partnership of different organisations with the vision of managing recreation on the public lands in the Dublin Mountains and is made up of Coillte, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, South Dublin County Council, Dublin City Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Dublin Mountains Initiative (who represent the recreation users).


Link to article in Irish Times Saturday 20th June;jsessionid=B9C0A4B40015363472735AD6BFFD678A

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