Located between the mountains and the lake there is a fantastic mosaic of habitat types at Lough Dan. Some of these are nationally important and form part of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) but all contribute in their own way to the vast biodiversity of the area. We manage the site in a sustainable fashion, with proper waste management that encourages reduce, reuse and recycle. We use only locally produced firewood from sustainable forests and encourage minimum impact camping through the Leave No Trace principles which all form part of our eco-strategy.
Part of our plan is to turn Lough Dan into a Scout Eco Park where environmental awareness and education form part of what we do. In its very simplest this will revolve around the theme of “pitch and get out” encouraging everyone that comes to Lough Dan to get out into Wild Wicklow and reconnect with nature. Laminated maps and route cards for the most popular hike routes are available from the office.
We have also set up a small eco-base where scouts can construct a variety of bird and bat boxes. And we have a Green-Way Nature Trail where scouts can explore biodiversity using their smart phones to photograph nature (the landscape, the wildlife, the sky). We have ID keys in the eco-base to help identify flora and fauna. We also have a short 2km/1hr “Cat’s Eye” night hike route (make sure to stop and listen to the wind and to look at the night sky, its pretty good around here).
As well as having management strategies for all the habitat types we participate with the local community in the Pure Mile project which encourages proper hedgerow management and works to reduce fly tipping and roadside litter. We are also in the process of establishing a wild flower meadow and a 6 hectare Native Woodland on part of the site.