Belleek Forest Park in Ballina is the Connaught winner of the RDS Forest Service Awards 2013 in the Community Woodlands category.
The award is well-deserved recognition for the voluntary work carried out by the Belleek Forest Enhancement Committee over many years in Belleek Wood.
It was also fitting that Cyril Collins, Chairman of the Belleek Forest Enhancement Committee, was presented with a Certificate of Merit by Minister of State, Tom Hayes, at a ceremony in Castletown House, Leixlip, Co Kildare.
Mr Collins, a retired Garda Sergeant and popular member of the Ballina community, has devoted his time and efforts to enhancing the beautiful woodland on the banks of the River Moy.
Mr Collins was the prime mover in having red squirrels introduced to Belleek Wood and the native squirrel is now thriving.
All those who visit the wood are delighted when they spot one of the elusive little creatures. The Belleek Wood duck pond is also another big attraction, particularly for families who have lots of fun feeding the ducks.
Mr Collins was accompanied by Seán Newcombe, Secretary, Belleek Forest Enhancement Committee, who must also be congratulated for his Trojan work over many years with the Committee in transforming Belleek Wood into one of County Mayo’s best and most used outdoor amenities.
Belleek Wood is becoming more popular by the month and is busy every day of the week with walkers, joggers, athletes, and wildlife enthusiasts. The woodland is part of the Monasteries of the Moy Greenway, a walking and cycling trail linking Ballina to Killala.