THE CUILCAGH Mountain boardwalk is as big as the Giant’s Causeway in tourist terms, and should be given the same attention with regard road access and facilities.
That was the message from the monthly meeting of the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council last week, where it was suggested the boardwalk had become so popular the time had come to even start charging visitors for access to the trail.
Speaking at the April meeting last Tuesday night, Cllr Thomas O’Reilly voiced concerns about the issues, such as parking and traffic congestion, being caused by the huge volume of people now visiting what he said had become possibly Fermanagh’s biggest attraction.
“There is a very urgent need to deal with the massive success of the boardwalk,” he said. “It has got so busy we’re having difficulty finding people space to park at the weekend.”
Stating it was “an unprecedented situation” where the success of the Legnabrocky walkway had been so great it had stretched the area’s capability to cope with the influx of visitors, Cllr O’Reilly said the Council needed to examine the condition of the road and the site’s current parking facilities, which are privately owned and cater for around 40 cars.
“If the roads are blocked we need to impress on Transport NI that they need to look at the geopark the same as the Giant’s Causeway,” he continued. “It needs to be looked at in the same light.”
Cllr O’Reilly said an immediate, short term solution was needed to address the condition of the road, and the parking and traffic problems, as we come into the busiest time of year, adding this solution must also suit residents in the area.
“The local people need to be respected and catered for. They’re being put in a situation where they’re having to go out and direct traffic.
Cllr Alex Baird pointed out last year over 24,000 people walked up the boardwalk, and said Transport NI were considering implementing an “advisory” one way route on the road, with signing pointing traffic in a counter-clockwise direction.
“A constituent has suggested to me that if it’s such a success, why don’t we charge for it? The money could be ploughed back into providing services,” said Cllr Baird, adding the Council had created the attraction and should deal with the problems of its success.”
Posted: 12:22 pm April 17, 2017