The Irish upland environment is limited in physical extent and very fragile in its nature. Our upland areas are frequently subject to use and development pressures inappropriate to their character. Some protection exists for areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation, Natural Heritage Areas or National Parks, which should be extended where feasible. To promote the protection of all Irish upland areas Mountaineering Ireland has developed policies, agreed with its members, upon which to base responses and action in relation to unwelcome developments.
In recent years the number of participants in hillwalking 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 to our policies. The other key objectives of the policy are the importance of valuing and protecting our upland landscape and ensuring sustainability of local communities.
The scope of these policies extends to land above 300m and associated ‘wilderness’ or semi-wild landscapes; crags, quarries and other climbing areas; sea cliffs, hills and other areas frequented by Mountaineering Ireland members, including access to these areas. Just under six percent of our island exceeds 300m in elevation and this we define as Uplands. Some one-tenth of the Irish uplands are higher than 500m, in general these are the Mountain areas.
The principle aims of these policies are:
To conserve the areas within our scope and their flora, fauna, archaeology and heritage
To ensure reasonable access for responsible recreational users
To cooperate with reasonable, sustainable and appropriate development in these areas.
Each policy describes one of the principal matters of environmental concern to Mountaineering Ireland and sets out the policies in relation to that issue:
- Path Erosion
- Organised Events in the Mountains
- Transport and Off-Road Vehicles
- Built Development
- Litter, Waste and Illegal Dumping
Download the policies here
Policy Implementation – Mountaineering Ireland will:
- Promote the enjoyment, protection, wise and safe recreational use of the Irish uplands
- Lobby for and co-operate with National Policies of amenity area conservation
- Consult with club committees in the relevant areas as issues arise
- Encourage clubs to publicise and discuss issues
- Seek to promote discussion and awareness of issues
- Seek to influence public opinion on issues as appropriate
- Work towards a management policy for planned areas agreed between all interested parties
- Co-operate with appropriate groups in Ireland and abroad to exchange information and work for common aims in keeping with Mountaineering Ireland's policy.