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brenno
2011-03-04 17:19:34
The great trail repair debate - cont'd
I'm not going to give any view on the great trail repair debate in the Mournes as I don't know the area very well and I don't know what's being done. But it does bring up the general question of repairs or "enhancements" to trails and whether they are justified or warranted.
I can only talk with any authority about my home turf in Dublin/Wicklow and even here there has been regular debate at what has been done on the Spink/Glenealo and Mullacor boardwalk stretches above Glendalough, the boardwalk between the JB Malone memorial and Djouce, and the Dublin Mountain Way - especially the stretch between Tibradden and the Wicklow Way.
First of all the boardwalk stretches were generally established because the areas were being overwalked and there was serious soil erosion. I'm old enough to remember the Spink before the boardwalk and anytime back then from September on it was a morass and getting worse by the year. In any event, the boardwalk stretches have been installed reasonably sympathetically although many may disagree with this view.
I'm not so sure about what has been done in the Dublin Mountains on the stretch between Pine Forest through Tibradden to the Wicklow Way. The mounded trail isn't particularly sympathetic with the area and my own view is that a boardwalk could have been a better option here - and would have a less damaging impact than the mounded trail that has been put into place.
We have to accept that interest in walking is growing, the numbers on the mountains are growing at a massive rate - greybeards like me can remember times in Wicklow when even on a good day you wouldn't meet very many people. Now there are large club groups and one a good day there are hundreds tramping over what is very delicate terrain. No doubt the same is the situation in the other upland areas around the country.
I can also remember going up Carrantoohil via the Devils Ladder about 15 years ago and even then it was in a shocking state. Now there is talk of work to stabilise the Devils Ladder.
Ideally, there should be no interference with the mountains, but reality I think dictates that we have to accept that the mountains especially sensitive areas with high boot fall need some protection.
Again, not taking sides in the Mournes debate - but just trying to add some perspective from my own home turf.
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