Plans for new visitors centre boost for Cuilcagh

WHILE it may remain closed due to the lockdown, Fermanagh’s ‘stairway to heaven’ could soon be getting a boost after plans were revealed for a special eco-friendly visitors centre close to the phenomenally popular walk.
The Cuilcagh Mountain Boardwalk was not included in the list local outdoor areas to be reopened to the public as part of the first steps of lifting lockdown, possibly due to its massive popularity with visitors from far and wide. 
Opened in 2015 as a means of protecting the fragile flora and fauna of the area, the boardwalk has been a surprise tourism success, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year. 
Many visitors often park at the nearby Killykeegan nature reserve when visiting, where there is currently information and toilet facilities, and now the reserve could not be in line for a significant yet sustainable development.
A proposal to convert Killykeegan Cottage, located in the reserve, into a “visitor amenity building” with an “extension to existing car parks” was due before a virtual meeting of the Council’s planning committee last night (Tuesday). Having been given the backing of local planners, it was expected the application would be approved.
“The new scheme will enhance the visitor experience by extending and improving car parking, providing interpretation of the area and by improving general access to the wider Killykeegan Nature Reserve,” the application stated.
Citing ecological surveys carried out for the lengthy application, it lists in detail the special environmental considerations of the area, and goes into great detail about how the development will not harm either the fragile flora and fauna, such as the very rare marsh fritillary butterfly. 
It also states the development will not alter the visual appearance of the area greatly, and that the cottage in question was already partially used as a tourist facility.

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