03/03/2022

Gortin Glens Forest Park Enhancement Works Complete

Rural Development Minister Edwin Poots has welcomed the completion of extensive enhancements at Gortin Glens Forest Park.

The re-development includes a Destination Play Park, Trim trail, 13 kilometres of exhilarating mountain bike trails, five waymarked walking trails of varying lengths for all abilities, a modernised café and accessible toilet provision, a forest educational centre and campsite, which Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have funded.

Touring the new facilities at Gortin Glen Forest Park, Minister Poots said: "On my visit to Gortin Glens it is easy to see how visitors will benefit from these new first-class enhanced facilities at the Forest. The benefits of this investment is clear to see from the massive increase in visitors to over 160,000 visitors in 2021 clearly demonstrating the interest in, and use of the local park. Attracting such numbers helps to create a sustainable living, working, active rural landscape valued by everyone."

The Minister added: "The development of effective partnership arrangements with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has been critical to providing this range of facilities for people to enjoy. I warmly congratulate the Council on their ongoing endeavours in providing better services and facilities for users of Gortin Glens Forest Park. Indeed Council and DAERA are currently working closely to further develop the Forest by enhancing the Tourism element with a Sculpture being erected at Mullaghcarn as an integral part of the Sperrins Sculpture Trail."

The improvements form part of Council's plans to develop the forest into a must visit family friendly destination which will have significant appeal for residents and visitors alike and has to date resulted in five jobs being created. Council have received funding of £1.1million of DAERA funding through its Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) budget.

In concluding the Minister continued: "The ongoing Forest Park Enhancement and Community Trails Development Scheme fits very well with my Department's Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework priorities. It addresses important issues such as isolation, loneliness, access and health and well-being.

"Our Forests currently attract almost nine million visits each year and delivers outcomes for local dwellers by enhancing and creating spaces that will encourage people to  adopt to a more healthy and active lifestyle. My Department will continue to support and enable activities that promote and encourage responsible recreational opportunities in our forest parks for the benefit of Northern Ireland."

Minister also visited nearby Glenpark Estate to meet local representatives from the Munterloney Initative for an update on progress including visiting a local tourism project at the site.

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