An ambitious new Strategic Plan to encourage responsible use of outdoor areas over the next three years, has been launched by Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan.

In February 2021, the stakeholder engagement process launched with representation from Leave No Trace core members and the public through interviews and surveys.

As a result of this process, Leave No Trace Ireland has a new mission statement:

“Empowering environmental stewardship and responsible recreation across the island of Ireland, that is in harmony with our shared outdoor heritage through –

  • Actions grounded in research;
  • Advocating for sustainable enjoyment of the outdoors;
  • Educating environmental stewards;
  • Engagement in environmental projects;
  • Partnerships with stakeholders.”

Speaking about the launch of the new Leave No Trace Ireland Strategic Plan, Minister Noonan said the new plan reflects a changing relationship with the great outdoors:

“We have all witnessed a remarkable reconnection to nature over the past year and this new Strategic Plan reflects that – and more.

“The ‘great outdoors’ has never been as important to us as [it has] been since the onset of Covid-19 in 2020.

“Where the pandemic confined us, nature freed us, and many of us sought sanctuary in nature, be it through general recreation to more adventurous hiking, boating and camping,” he added.

“Looking after our natural heritage is a collaborative endeavour; we all play a role, and that is why a far-reaching plan such as this is welcomed.”

Paddy Doherty, Leave No Trace Ireland chairperson; Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan; Maura Kiely, CEO Leave No Trace Ireland

Leave No Trace Ireland chairperson, Paddy Doherty stated: “During 2020, the organisation undertook substantial work to design a new Strategic Plan for the period 2021 to 2024.

“This was a major piece of work which involved our core members, trainers, members and the public in the process.

“I am delighted to share that the final Strategic Plan is now approved and will guide the organisation’s development over the next three years.”

Stakeholder engagement on plan for outdoor areas

The new strategic plan 2021-2024 outlines five overarching strategic actions for Leave No Trace Ireland for the next three years.

The executive will develop annual work plans based on the ambitions under each of the five strategic actions.

Key performance in achieving all actions will be tracked.