Cuilcagh carpark closure row rumbles on

The Cuilcagh mountain carpark

FERMANAGH and Omagh District Council say they are investigating alternative parking arrangements at the popular Cuilcagh Mountain Boardwalk following the closure of the tourist site’s main car park. 
Since Thursday, visitors attempting to access the car park have been met with a locked gate and forced to park along the roadside, at the Killykeegan Nature Reserve or at the Marble Arch Caves Visitor Centre. 
Cuilcagh’s boardwalk has become an internet sensation with people travelling from all over the country to undertake the 7.4km scenic climb. However, the council have to date failed to provide any permanent car parking facilities at the site and temporary access to the boardwalk was only available through a local farmer’s privately owned land, catering for around 40 cars. 
The Fermanagh Herald understands that the landowner concerned has become frustrated by the large volume of traffic visiting the site since the boardwalk opened two years ago, which has curtailed his farming activities. 
Among those arriving to find the car park all locked up this week was Mary O’Neill from Coalisland: “We desperately need proper car parking facilities provided. When I came here recently, the cars were parked along the road for four miles which is not an ideal option. I can see the farmer’s point of view in terms of trying to move his animals but the council need to do something”. 
Another visitor, Claire O’Reilly from Cavan, told the Herald: “I would feel safer if I could park my car in a car park rather than along the road where there is a lot of traffic coming and going all the time”.   
Owen McArdle from Armagh was also forced to park along the roadside: “I just hope I don’t lose my car’s wing mirror while I’m on my walk because it’s such a narrow road.”
In a statement to the Herald yesterday (Tuesday), a council spokesman said: “At present the ‘informal’ parking area has been closed by the landowner as some issues have arisen that he is dealing with. The landowner is considering his options at present. The council would draw visitors attention to other car parking that is available in the area. The council is interacting with various statutory bodies to investigate parking opportunities in this area. However as much of the adjacent land is ‘protected’ by designation then opportunities may be limited.”


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