November 11th, 2023
My Ministerial travels took me to Mayo yesterday, for a very special announcement in Wild Nephin National Park. Dramatic skies threatened rain, but thankfully the weather held and the sun broke through as we gathered at the newly restored McCann’s famine cottage to announce the twinning of Wild Nephin with the world-famous Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
Under this new arrangement, shared activities across the two National Parks and their management teams will include information exchange and collaboration on best practice in areas such as community engagement, cultural and visitor service management, forestry and fire management, wilderness and dark sky management, and climate change.
This five year ‘Sister Park' arrangement will support international co-operation to enhance the management of our national parks, and it's significant the announcement was made at McCann's cottage, where we recalled events that shaped the history of this area, while looking to a future where we strengthen our connections through nature and protect nature in our National Parks, for the benefit and enjoyment of all.
The cottage was originally home to local man Paddy McCann and his family until their death during the Great Famine, and was restored by our National Parks and Wildlife Service staff over the past year.
As part of an innovative heritage project to restore former cottages for use as bothies, the building will now provide shelter for hikers, walkers and star gazers visiting Wild Nephin National Park.
We also launched a new walking trail to Jamsie’s Well. According to local folklore, the properties of water from the well are said to hold the cure for kidney stones! Better safe than sorry!