New route map for the Reek launched

Following the formation of the Croagh Patrick stakeholders group late last year which includes all the mountains stakeholders such as the church, Murrisk community, Mayo County Council, South West Mayo Development Company, Mayo Mountain Rescue, Croagh Patrick Archaeological Society, and the tourism and adventure sectors, the group has launched a a new map/information leaflet and signage for Croagh Patrick. The map is the first time that the route is clearly marked out on one ordnance survey sheet and will greatly assist users in navigating the route.

There are also important messages from the stakeholders like Mayo Mountain Rescue, and the leave no trace message together with information on the pilgrimage, history and archaeology, and Murrisk community. Also being installed is new and complementary signage in the car park and at the statue on the climb which be of benefit to climbers. The safety advice of Mayo Mountain Rescue has been confirmed as the most appropriate and is now referenced on all Croagh Patrick related websites.

Other work of the group has seen the domain name Croaghpatrick.ie secured with a view to establishing a single comprehensive online presence. The group has also sourced historical ordnance survey mapping together with aerial photography and GIS mapping of the route from the car park to the summit. This will assist in establishing the current baseline for the condition of the mountain and how it has evolved over the last 150 years. In addition, new people counters have been installed to track the numbers climbing Croagh Patrick which will provide valuable evidence around the contribution that the iconic mountain makes to the local economy.

There have been numerous other positive outcomes for the community with the formation of the group, which includes providing a forum for stakeholder dialogue for the first time, a shared understanding of all stakeholder concerns, cultivating an environment of respect and acknowledgement of stakeholders and landowners, adopting a partnership approach to problem solving, working towards developing sustainable solutions that will protect the natural environment, habitats, and ecosystems of the area, recognition of the spiritual significance of Croagh Patrick as Ireland’s holy mountain and associated pilgrimages.

The next steps for the group are to develop a sustainable solution that builds on the progress made to date and involves shareholders and the local community in the implementation and future maintenance of Croagh Patrick, to commence the tender process to appoint consultants with experience of Upland Path Management to design and guide the implementation, to secure community participation in a consultation process around the proposed solutions and build community support for implementation, to comply with the necessary statutory planning procedures and to source funding streams and develop the delivery mechanism.

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