THE public has been urged to help protect our local beauty spots when visiting the Mournes this Easter.
In an appeal issued by NI Water ahead of the upcoming holiday period, they are reminding you that littering or lighting fires ruin not only the area but the experience for anyone coming after you.
People are also reminded that camping and the use of E-scooters are not permitted.
Stewart Walsh, Area Manager explains: “NI Water is proud to host visitors to our beauty spots but is appealing for support in keeping these sites a place for all to enjoy by taking litter home and refraining from lighting fires.
"The whole community make use of these areas for recreational purposes and in many cases, they were a place of solitude during lockdown when everywhere else was closed.
“While we appreciate those who bag their rubbish, placing it on the ground, hanging it off a tree or gate is not acceptable. Instead, please bag it and take it home. We would also ask that you keep your dog on a leash so you can see where they are fouling but also to avoid any attacks. In some cases, we have seen adults and children knocked over."
He also asked the public to be respectful around reservoirs.
Stewart concludes: “The number one purpose of these sites is to provide and safeguard important drinking water sources. Secondary to that is their attraction for those seeking outdoor recreation and picturesque walks.
"They are also home to important wildlife who rely on the natural surroundings to breed and grow and it is a shame that the selfish acts of a few sometimes impact on the enjoyment of the many who visit these beauty spots. We depend on the common sense and goodwill of those using the site to treat it with respect and leave no trace.”
If you see any inappropriate behaviour or vandalism at NI Water sites, please report it to the Police on 101, Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 or Waterline 03457 440088.