Fifteen million euro in funding to boost tourism on Coillte lands has been announced.
The major investment was announced by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, as part of a new five year strategic partnership with Coillte.
Over 250 of Coillte's recreational forests and 12 forest parks will receive investment, with improvements due to be carried out to some 3,000km of walking trails and cycleways.
Three million euro will be spent on projects in Waterford, Kildare, Cavan and Wicklow in 2022.
This includes €100,000 on the construction of a family cycle trail at Avondale Forest Park in Wicklow, €200,000 on a new car park and access point at Deerpark Forest in Cavan, €160,000 on the entrance road and car park at Donadea Forest park in Kildare, and €80,000 on the reinforcement of an unstable embankment at Crough Wood in Waterford as well as the re-opening of a trail.
Minister Humphreys has "no doubt" the funding will attract more visitors to rural Ireland.
She said, "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.
#OurRuralFuture: Minister @HHumphreysFG announces €15 million to boost tourism and develop recreational facilities on Coillte lands— Department of Rural and Community Development (@DeptRCD) May 13, 2022
Providing major investment across 260 recreational forests and 12 forest parks
Read more >> https://t.co/5Ff7CtY6i5 pic.twitter.com/uGg9XAPTuG
"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.
"Over the last two years we have seen a major increase in the number of people accessing outdoor recreation infrastructure. Coillte is uniquely placed to assist us in meeting that demand to ensure that people can continue to enjoy the unique advantages offered by the Irish countryside."
Chief Executive Officer of Coillte, Imelda Hurley, said, "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."
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