Red squirrel forces halt to forestry road plans

Lisnagra Woods is home to some of the last colonies of red squirrels in the north west. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

THE humble red squirrel has managed to stop plans for a road through a scenic wood close to the Co Donegal border with Derry.

Campaigners have been told the Republic's forestry agency, Coillte has suspended plans to build an access road through the picturesque Lis na Gra woods to protect the habitat of the red squirrels.

Situated above the border village of Muff, Lis na Gra woods is one of the last areas in the north west where the native red squirrels have been breeding successfully.

Lis na Gra has a large colony of red squirrels, as well as other wildlife. However, environmentalists feared that plans to build a road through the woods, to access a pin forest, would destroy the creatures' natural habitat.

Coillte said it was also necessary to remove some trees on the grounds of safety as they had become prone to windfall. Wildlife enthusiasts set up an online petition to oppose the move.

The campaign attracted a huge interest and it now appears that the red squirrel has won.Coillte told campaigners earlier this week that it intends looking at alternative access means to the pine forest.

Campaigner, Bren Whelan paid tribute to the forestry agency over its decision to suspend its plans which he said would protect the integrity of the woodland for future generations.

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