Walk NI say stay on the right side of outside

Walk NI say stay on the right side of outside

Northern Ireland’s outdoor areas and scenic spots have seen a huge increase in visitor numbers since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Whilst this interest in the outdoors is extremely positive for society, it has generated significant issues that are disrupting natural beauty spots, such as littering, dog waste, irresponsible car parking, livestock worrying, disturbance to wildlife, overcrowding and damage which can be caused by wild camping and wildfires.

WalkNI have recently launched a new nationwide campaign called ‘The Right Side of Outside’ which aims to generate awareness of these concerns and instil more positive behaviours, that will ultimately ease some of the main implications now at play in many of our popular outdoor spots.

Seven Ways to Stay on the  ‘The Right Side of Outside’:

Get there early
As many outdoor places become more popular our advice is to get there early as there will probably be no car parking spaces left if you don’t. Unfortunately when car parks fill, it often leads to people parking wherever they can find a space, which often ends up blocking access to emergency services or to a farmer’s field.

If you want to bring your dog avoid areas where livestock are present
The presence of a dog, even one that’s on a lead, can cause stress to sheep, particularly during lambing season. When dogs are off their leads, the risks are even greater with sheep potentially being chased, injured or killed. If you want to bring your dog with you, instead of bringing it to mountainous or farmland areas where livestock are present, why not bring it to some of our beautiful forests, parks and coastal areas instead? We would also kindly ask you to keep your dog on a lead in these areas to minimise the disturbance to wildlife.

Bring all of your litter home with you
Some outdoor locations don’t have bins and the ones that do are often overfilled with litter already. It is best, therefore, to go with the intention that you will bring everything home, including what you would compost!

Bring your dog waste home with you
Nothing spoils the look of the outdoors quicker than dog poop bags hanging from a tree. It also sets a precedent for others coming behind you to do the same. Let’s not spoil everyone’s visit and bring it home with you.

Prepare for your visit
Plan ahead for your visit. Do you have the appropriate clothing and footwear, will you need food and drink or a map? Are you aware of the route out if the weather turns bad and you need to leave urgently

Bring everything home if you are wild camping
No one wants to spoil our beauty spots so if you are wild camping in a designated area, take all of your belongings home with you…and yes that includes your human waste.

Know the risks associated with outdoor fires
Campfires and BBQs can be extremely dangerous and can escalate rapidly if you’re not experienced in managing them. Think before you light a fire in the outdoors.

Find out more at https://walkni.com/news/get-on-the-right-side-of-outside-this-spring/