Umeras Community Development
We are a not-for-profit community group formed by local people to design, fund and promote Umeras Peatlands Park. 
We are inspired by Lough Boora Discovery Park in Offaly which attracts 100,000 visitors per year to experience the rural tranquility of the bog and forest landscape. We aim to highlight peatland heritage and the unique nature of Umeras bog. 

The committee members all live near Umeras Bog and are: 
    Eddie Smyth (ecologist/rural development) 
    Kate Scully (business) 
    Liam Murphy (accountant)
    Bernie Duffy (farmer)
We visited Umeras Bog with the Irish Peatlands Conservation Council (IPCC) in July 2019 when we heard that Bord na Móna were stopping peat production. The IPCC facilitated contact with Bord na Móna and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). 
We have submitted a proposal for funding to the Just Transition Fund to develop Umeras Peatlands Park. Bord na Móna has stated that "we are willing to work with Umeras Community Development to explore this opportunity further, and in principle we consider a peatland park to be an appropriate future use for the site."
We have support from Kildare Leader, Kildare Fáilte, Kildare County Council Heritage and Biodiversity, the IPCC and all our local politicians.
Our Objective
Our objective is to transform Umeras Bog into a peatlands park as a local and tourist amenity. We are seeking to support Bord na Móna to transform the cut-away bog into unique nature areas while preserving the small area of community turf cutting so tourists can experience our peatland heritage.
Our funding proposal includes money to improve the bog road from Umeras Bridge as a cycle and walking track, and to widen and improve the Quinnsboro road from Ballykelly Locks. 
We believe that a Peatlands Park will bring tourists to Monasterevin and Rathangan, which combined with the Blueway and Ballykelly Mills Distillery will rejuvenate the local economy. It will provide a great new amenity for our families to enjoy the rural tranquillity of the bogs and canal.
The Peatlands Park would create direct employment in building and managing the park, and also indirectly, by creating demand for cafés, shops, bike hire, accommodation, etc. in Monasterevin and Rathangan.
The aim is to rehabilitate Umeras bog as part of a tourism initiative, and to continue the tradition of turf-cutting. 
Umeras bog is approximately 600 acres, comprised of 500 acres of cut-away bog, 40 acres of raised bog and 60 acres of birch woodland, drains, bog railway and a works yard. The site is currently drained, but when the internal drains are blocked some areas will become wetlands while drier areas will become semi-natural grassland and scrubland.
The site is very much a blank canvas in terms of how the biodiversity and amenity value of the site can be developed. Bord na Móna has the contract to re-wet the decommissioned peatlands to maximize carbon capture and this work would be complementary to the development of a peatland park.
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