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New Ambassador Programme To Promote Sustainable Use, Habitat Protection And Enhanced Visitor Experience On Croagh Patrick

Date: 21-07-2022

Mayo County Council have announced the development of the Croagh Patrick Ambassador Programme in collaboration with Leave No Trace Ireland and the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group. The aim of the programme is to drive public awareness of the importance of care and respect for our natural heritage, to empower positive behavioural change and develop skills around outdoor recreation so that locals and visitors can continue to enjoy and protect  Croagh Patrick and its surrounds.

Over 120,000 people climb Croagh Patrick annually.  However, the mountain currently does not have any statutory or legal conservation protection or status. The increase in visitor numbers has resulted in many negative impacts on the mountain, the most visible of which is the path erosion on privately-owned land. The Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group have commenced the sustainable access and habitat restoration project on the pilgrim path on Croagh Patrick to reduce the impact of path erosion. Other recreational issues include visitors bringing dogs onto the mountain, off lead, where there are farm animals present, littering, graffiti and overcrowding. The Croagh Patrick Ambassador Programme will bring together multiple stakeholders to address these issues, raise awareness of its heritage and help to protect the mountain.

Mayo County Council and Leave No Trace Ireland will coordinate the project, which will design and develop the bespoke Ambassador Programme in collaboration with stakeholders.

The programme begins with the identification of local community stakeholders, including, but not limited to, the Croagh Patrick Stakeholder Group, Murrisk Development Association, Mayo County Council, Mountaineering Ireland, the NPWS, Failte Ireland and Leave No Trace Ireland. Further local community stakeholders are being identified and contacted to engage with the Programme.

Welcoming the new initiative, Maura Kiely, CEO of Leave No Trace Ireland said a key objective of the programme is to develop a team of local volunteers to act as Ambassadors for Croagh Patrick to assist the public in appreciating the mountain and its surrounds through education and communication.

Commenting, Maura Kiely said: “We want to ensure that Croagh Patrick continues to be healthy, vibrant upland location for all to continue to access and enjoy in a sustainable way. By working together, we can ensure direct habitat protection, together with increased awareness, appreciation, and stewardship of the wonderful natural environment of Croagh Patrick. Building on the success of at Croagh Patrick, we believe there is further scope for the Ambassador Programme to be rolled out and delivered across multiple upland locations around Ireland.”

Leave No Trace Ireland will deliver the Ambassador Training Programme to the selected Ambassadors, working with Mayo County Council to ensure that visitors to Crough Patrick appreciate the importance of preserving the mountain’s distinct natural, cultural and religious heritage through sustainable use.  This training programme will also provide guidance on the most effective means for volunteers to engage with visitors to the mountain, whether local or visiting on how to engage in responsible stewardship of Croagh Patrick.

To read the full volunteer Ambassador role description click here

To download the Application form click here.

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