Waterford Coillte forest visitors down 80% amid Covid-19 lockdown

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@waterfordlive.ie

Waterford Coillte forest visitors down 80% amid Covid-19 lockdown

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Coillte has thanked the public for observing Covid-19 guidelines as a significant decrease in footfall has been recorded at Coillte’s recreational forests since the Government introduced enhanced restrictions on March 27th.

Coillte compared the number of visitors to its 23 recreational forests nationally in the full week prior to the introduction of the enhanced restrictions (March 21 to March 27) to the number of visitors in the full week following the introduction (March 28 to April 3). The figures showed that in Waterford, there was an 82% reduction in the number of visitors after the enhanced restrictions came into place.

Approximately 300 people visited Coillte’s recreational forest at Colligan Wood between March 28 and April 3 compared to nearly 1,700 recorded the previous week. That is an overall reduction of 82% with Portumna Forest Park in Galway, the Devils Glen in Wicklow and Ards Forest Park in Donegal seeing reductions in visitor numbers of 99%.

Imelda Hurley, Chief Executive of Coillte says: “We wish to thank the public for adhering to the restrictions currently in place at Coillte’s recreational forests across the country.

"We understand this is a challenging time, but by observing the Covid-19 related Government and HSE advice, you are helping to save countless lives. The significant reduction in footfall recorded across our recreational forests is a clear signal that the public are taking their responsibility seriously and protecting our most vulnerable communities.

"We all have our own part to play and we want to take this opportunity to thank the public for their cooperation so far, and ask that they continue to observe the Government and HSE guidance on Covid-19 including during the upcoming Easter break.’’

Coillte is continuing to see a trend of reduced footfall with the significant drop in footfall clearly demonstrating that members of the public listened to the advice of the Government and abided by the enhanced measures. As we head into the Easter holiday weekend, Coillte encourages the public to continue to observe the Government guidelines and to stay safe.

Coillte had introduced access restrictions to minimize the spread of Covid-19 in Coillte managed recreational forests across the country which are currently only open to local pedestrians, while all on-site car parking remains closed.