File photo: Donadea Forest Park
Up to €160,000 is to be spent on finishing the entrance road and car park at Donadea Forest Park this year in the first traunch of funding announced for national projects on Coilte land over the next five years.
Minister Heather Humphreys today announced a €15 million fund to boost tourism and develop recreational facilities. The funding is part of a new five year strategic partnership with Coillte designed to boost rural tourism.
Some 260 recreational forests and 12 forest parks will receive investment as part of the initiative. This will result in improvements being carried out to some 3,000 kilometres of walking trails and cycleways in a major boost to outdoor tourism and rural communities.
“Our forest parks, walking and cycling trails and upland areas are what makes Rural Ireland stand out," said the Minister.
"Right across the country, people of all ages reap the benefits of these unique natural amenities on a daily basis. This €15 million partnership between the Department of Rural and Community Development and Coillte will further enhance our great outdoors – benefitting hundreds of thousands of people for years to come.
"As Minister, investing in our great outdoors has been a major priority of mine. We all know the benefits that our forest parks and outdoor trails provide in terms of both our physical and mental wellbeing. And so, I’m really pleased to approve this new partnership today – which I have no doubt will be so important in terms of attracting more visitors to rural Ireland.”
Coillte recorded a significant increase in visitor numbers to its Forest Parks and recreation sites over the past two years, with a doubling of visitor numbers at some of its most popular sites.
In 2022 €3 million will be spent on projects throughout the country and include:
· Avondale, Co. Wicklow: Construct new multi-access trail and a family cycle trail at Avondale Forest Park - €100,000
· Donadea Forest Park, Co. Kildare: Final phase of works to entrance road and car park - €160,000
· Crough Wood, Co. Waterford: Reinforce unstable embankment and re-open trail - €80,000
· Deerkpark / Headford, Co. Cavan: Open new access point and install new car park to serve Deerpark forest - €200,000
Imelda Hurley, Chief Executive Officer, Coillte added: “As the largest provider of outdoor recreation space in Ireland, Coillte has an important role in the provision of recreation forests, forest parks, waymarked walking and cycling trails, picnic sites and other facilities to support the growing demand for access to the outdoors.
“We are particularly keen to provide additional facilities at our recreation sites to support our visitor’s experience, such as food and beverage outlets, enhanced trails, waymarking and signage. By partnering with local businesses to provide services for visitors, we can increase local and rural economic activity and enable local employment.
“We are delighted to have ongoing support from Minister Heather Humphreys and the Department of Rural and Community Development. With their support, we can enhance and develop our recreational offering to cater for the significantly increased visitor numbers using Coillte’s forests each year.”
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.