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padodes
2008-06-17 17:19:08
A path in the wilderness
The other day, crossing from Scarr to Brocagh (Wicklow), I came upon a very enthusiastic Mountain Meitheal group busily laying a boardwalk not far from the wooden bridge that crosses Glenmacnass River at T141 973. This new assemblage, not unlike those to be seen around Glendalough, runs into the dense thickets between the road (R115) and the river. I was so surprised that anyone would think of building a causeway in that place that my curiosity later took me to the MM webpage (www.pathsavers.org). A photo with the caption “Building Bog Bridge on Wicklow Way at Brocagh” still left me a bit mystified, but the MM Programme for 2008 speaks of the construction of “an interpretative trail at Brocagh”, which seems to refer to the same thing. I admire very much the generous commitment of MM members to “repairing, maintaining and building mountain and forest trails”, as their stated objective indicates, but I often have mixed feelings about the end result. It seems at times to be at variance with the other stated aims of “maintaining the challenge for recreational users” and “striving to preserve a sense of solitude and a ‘wilderness’ experience.” When I see a rough path battered into tidy submission, or a boardwalk stretching into a 'wilderness' where people would otherwise seldom go, I can't help feeling it has more to do with a taming of the wilderness than with its preservation. The MM ecological ethos of "Leave No Trace" is certainly the ideal.
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