As hillwalkers, we are fortunate to be able to visit some magical places that include National Parks, Nature Reserves, Special Areas of Conservation and other sensitive habitats and beauty spots. However, these habitats face a growing number of environmental challenges, most notably from the impact of the increasing popularity of hillwalking and the impending crisis of global and Irish climate change.
In line with best practice for hillwalking clubs, the Hillwalkers Club has an Environmental Officer on the committee. In 2019, guided by the principles of ‘Leave no trace’, Mountaineering Ireland’s ‘Good practice guide’, and the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report of October 2018, the Hillwalkers Club adopted an Environmental Policy.
Key themes in the policy include:
- Safety, preparedness and food on the mountain
- Travel to the mountains
- Travel to the club coach
- Access to and courtesy in the mountains
- Litter on the mountains
- Threading lightly on the mountains
- Restoring mountain paths
- Linking with kindred organisations
- Supporting mountain communities
- Nurturing members’ appreciation of nature and culture in the mountains
- Club administration: use of paper and plastic
- Predicted general adverse impacts on Ireland
- Likely impacts on mountain areas