The Donegal Education and Training Board says it welcomes the use of the Gartan Estate, and has long term plans to enhance recreational amenities.
It follows the lodging of a planning application last month for the erection of an access fence and gates close to the Outdoor Education Centre in the grounds.
Local people have launched an online petition, claiming that their ability to walk the grounds could be compromised.
However, the ETB says there are safety issues that must be addressed.
In a statement this afternoon, Donegal ETB says while it welcomes recreational users in Gartan, the recent increase has resulted in health and safety concerns, and has placed significant demand on the resources at Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre.
In order to ensure a separation between recreational users and course participants on the Gartan Estate, the statement says Donegal ETB has applied for planning permission to erect a fence and gates around the buildings, equipment stores and slipways that are used by course participants at the centre.
The ETB says the proposed fence and gates will ensure that recreational users continue to have access through the grounds, while protecting course participants and facilities at the Outdoor Education Centre.
This additional security feature, the statement concludes, will address the health and safety concerns, and also enhance child protection measures within the estate grounds.