Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development has welcomed the extension of Ballycroy National Park to an area known as Wild Nephin.
The Wild Nephin area will now be added to Ballycroy National Park, expanding the total size of the National Park to over 15,000 hectares.
Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, and Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht made the announcement last Friday.
The expansion of Ballycroy National Park is the result of a long-standing collaborative project between Coillte and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – Minister Josepha Madigan’s Department and Minister Ring’s former Department – to create over 15,000 hectares of National Park on these State-owned lands.
Minister Ring said:
“The transfer of the beautiful Wild Nephin area into Ballycroy National Park will make Ballycroy one of the largest national parks in the country and one of the premier destinations to experience nature in a pristine and wild landscape. This gives both the Country and importantly the community another accessible area of un-mirrored and unrivalled beauty.
Minister Ring said that the new acquisition of land will be the key link from the Great Western Greenway going north into Bangor Erris and Ballycastle, and will officiate as an important tourist hub and a gateway for Greenway users in North-Mayo.
“One of the major advantages of this consolidation of land will be that access to Ballycroy National Park, which had been a significant problem to date, will be greatly improved.” Ring said.
Preservation of national heritage
“Minister Madigan said that Wild Nephin Area is an “important area” for nature conservation and public amenity.
“The transfer of land shows once again the State’s determination in preserving our natural heritage not only for ourselves, but also for our children and our children’s children.” Miniter Madigan said.
“Our commitment to strengthening our store of core diverse habitats and amenity areas means we can continue to support a range of protected bird and mammal species.” Madigan concluded.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service will now manage this transfer of land and a public amenity conversion plan will be put in place. Overall, the project reflects the on-going commitment of all stakeholders to improve the recreational potential of this area whilst ensuring the highest standards of nature conservation.
Improvement of local & national economy
Mr Gerard Murphy, Managing Director of Coillte Forest spoke of his delight following the facilitation of the expansion.
“The expanded Ballycroy National Park will be an asset to the region, in line with the joint-vision by Coillte and the Department for a wilderness area.” Murphy said.
“Without a doubt, the park will have the dual benefit of preserving our natural environment for the enjoyment of present and future generations, while also improving the local and national economy through the generation and expansion of responsible sustainable tourism.” Murphy concluded.