The MacGillycuddy Reeks cover a large area, over 100km2, with the land entirely in private ownership. The McGillicuddy Reeks Mountain Access Forum which was established in mid 2014 came together to implement an action plan to sustainably manage this well-known and loved, but fragile, upland area.
The Mountain Access Project is an initiative of Comhairle na Tuaithe, the national body with responsibility for outdoor recreation, which is resourced through the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. The MacGillycuddy Reeks, along with Binn Shléibhe in Co. Galway, is one of two pilot areas where a permissive access model is being piloted, based on awareness of, and respect for, private land. This project is being supported by The Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government-Rural Recreation Section and the Interreg IVB Rural Alliances Programme, through South Kerry Development Partnership.
The Forum was set up after more than ten months of intensive consultation with key partners such as the landowners, responsible local and statutory agencies and authorities - Kerry County Council, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, community groups, recreational users, etc.
The consultation was carried out by SLR Consulting Ireland (SLR) as part of a Mountain Access Development Assessment for the Reeks, initiated on behalf of South Kerry Development Partnership, Dept. of Environment, Community and Local Government and Failte Ireland. The SLR report, finalised in March 2014, identified the need for the establishment and resourcing of an appropriate local management structure to oversee the MacGillycuddy Reeks Mountain Access Scheme.