Significant increase in visitors to Galway forests since lockdown

New figures released today reveal that there has been a large increase in visitor numbers to some forests in Galway.

Portumna Forest Park and Derroura and Clonbur Recreation Forests recorded a significant increase in visitors since Covid restrictions eased in June.

The three Coillte forests had 17,521 visitors between June and the beginning of August – a marked increase from visitor numbers during the height of the pandemic.

In March and April, when restrictions were at their most limiting, Coillte saw a large drop in the amount of people visiting, as non-essential travel was restricted.

However, since these restrictions were lifted on June 19, visitors have been returning to Coillte’s forests across the country.

Imelda Hurley, Chief Executive of Coillte said that surprisingly, since people could move more than 5km from their homes, there was a large increase in visitor numbers.

“This continued, steady increase is heartening for all of those who cherish our amenities,” said Imelda.

She said that access to nature is v’ery important for the body, mind and spirit’ and that is why they work hard to maintain their tracks, parks and outdoor recreational facilities across Galway.

“As we approach the end of August,” she said, “and people take time to enjoy our forests, we ask that visitors continue to adhere to the social distancing rule of two metres when meeting others outside of their household, as well as the other guidelines on outdoor gatherings announced by the Government.

“I want to thank the public for adhering to the Government’s travel restrictions during the COVID19 lockdown.

“If we continue to remain vigilant, we can all play our own part in protecting our communities.’’

Galway Daily