Leave No Trace Ireland, Ireland’s only outdoor ethics programme, which promotes the responsible use of the outdoors, has launched its third national awareness campaign urging the public exercise care in their enjoyment of the outdoors including public parks, open countryside, and beaches. Record numbers of people are taking part in outdoor activities, putting increased pressure on our outdoor spaces. The new campaign asks the public to Love This Place and Leave No Trace when enjoying the outdoors this summer.
The Love This Place campaign – which is being run by Leave No Trace Ireland in conjunction with partner organisations from the sports, tourism and outdoor activities sectors – will include advertising across national and local radio and social media.
Speaking on the launch of the ‘Love This Place, campaign, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, said, “the importance of outdoor recreation for our physical and mental wellbeing has become clearer than ever over the past two years. As we approach the summer months it’s vital that we all continue to enjoy the outdoors responsibly – whether you’re hiking, cycling or going for a picnic on the beach please do plan your activities ahead and play your part by leaving any outdoor spaces as you found them.”
“By leaving no trace and respecting our environment we can help to minimize our impact on the outdoors. Picking up after your dog, keeping them on a lead near wildlife and livestock, bringing your rubbish home with you and parking your car so it doesn’t block access points are all simple ways to enjoy the outdoors in a responsible way. As we enjoy more time in our shared outdoor spaces over the summer months remember to love this place and leave no trace.”
The 2022 campaign is a joint initiative with government departments and leading state and independent organisations that promote outdoor activities and the responsible enjoyment of the countryside including Fáilte Ireland, Sport Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Department of Rural and Community Development, Dublin City Council, the Office of Public Works, Coillte, Waterways Ireland and Horse Sport Ireland.
Commenting, Leave No Trace Ireland Chief Executive, Maura Kiely, said, “all the indications are that this year we are going to see a welcome bounce back for tourism in Ireland. This will bring with it an increase in outdoor activities and renewed pressures on outdoor spaces and the countryside including the natural environment, wildlife, habitats, farming and sensitive ecosystems such as dunes and rivers.”
“Our campaign is making a direct appeal to everyone to consider and take responsibility for their activities and their impacts, and to follow the ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles. The ‘Love this Place’ campaign asks all of us that love the outdoors to share our responsibility to protect our natural environment by taking simple actions such as planning ahead, cleaning up after a visit, managing our pet dogs. We should all strive to leave the outdoors as we find it for the next person to enjoy.”
“This summer, we are also highlighting pressure points that are bearing the brunt of the increase in outdoor activities. These include an increase in dog fouling and worrying of farm livestock as the numbers of pet dogs continues to grow, and the devastation that can be caused by fires from uncontrolled and inappropriate use of campfires and barbeques in the countryside. 99% of wildfires in Ireland are the result of human activity in the outdoors. We can reduce and eliminate these impacts if we follow the ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles.”
Welcoming the Leave No Trace Campaign , Minister Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform said, “we have a duty to our environment, to wildlife and to each other to be responsible stewards of the natural world – our national parks, woodlands, rivers, beaches, mountains and everywhere in between.”
“Loving nature, wildlife and the great outdoors means being thoughtful, prepared and proactive – packing a picnic rather than a disposable bbq that could cause a serious fire, bringing a bin bag to pick up rubbish that could otherwise harm wildlife, keeping dogs on leads rather than letting them go and potentially worrying farm animals or breeding birds, keeping our distance from wild birds, mammals and marine life and observing them without disturbing or disrupting them.”
“As more of us seek the beauty, exhilaration and escapism of outdoor recreation, our collective impact on the environment also increases. By being responsible and leaving no trace, we can help the wild places and species we love to stay wild.”
Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers said, “we have seen from previous years that the Leave No Trace campaigns have had a tangible impact on encouraging people to show care and respect for the outdoors and to enjoy being in nature’s beautiful surroundings.
“Studies have shown the mental and physical health benefits of being outdoors and getting exercise, and this programme encourages people to get active and try the beautiful outdoor activities this country has to offer, while being conscious to look after their environment. I want to thank the personnel involved in the roll out of this important programme and I look forward to supporting the ‘Love This Place’ campaign’.”