A new ‘Love this Place’ campaign, which launched today (Monday, May 30), will place a special emphasis on managing dogs and preventing livestock worrying.
The campaign is being run by Leave No Trace Ireland as well as various other sporting, tourism and outdoor organisations, all of which are promoting outdoor ethics this summer.
A focus is being placed on exercising caution when enjoying the outdoors with respect to dog fouling and disturbing livestock and other wildlife. CEO of Leave No Trace Ireland Maura Kiely said this has recently become a big problem:
“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.”
Kiely said these impacts can be reduced if people follow “leave no trace principles” while enjoying the outdoors.
These principles promote keeping dogs on leads at all times to avoid any issues with disruption of livestock or wildlife, as well as keeping people safe.
The campaign is also asking people to plan ahead by bringing poo and rubbish bags and taking these home if they cannot be disposed of in the appropriate bins.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys said more people than ever are enjoying outdoor recreation, but added that it is vital that these places are enjoyed responsibly.
“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,” she said.
“By leaving no trace and respecting our environment we can help to minimise our impact on the outdoors.”
Barbecues and campfires are another focus of the campaign, with people being asked to never light a fire unless it is “on a designated site in a suitable, low risk location”.
According to Kiely, “99% of wildfires in Ireland are the result of human activity in the outdoors”. To encourage people to take care with fire, the campaign is asking people not to use portable barbecues in the countryside and to consider packing a picnic instead.
It has also created a guidance page on how to set, use and extinguish a campfire correctly, which can be accessed on the campaign’s website.