€2.4 million to develop 70 new walking trails across the country has been announced today by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys.
The major expansion of the Department’s Walks Scheme will see the number of outdoor trails increase from 80 to 150 over the next two years.
The initiative is designed to boost outdoor recreation and rural tourism and will see the Scheme work with over 2,500 farmers to open up the countryside to walkers, hikers cyclists and tourists.
Under the Walks Scheme, funding is provided to farmers and other landowners to maintain the trails that travel through their holdings.
At present, 2,200 farmers or landowners are participating – with Minister Humphreys today opening up a new call for expressions of interest on the Lung Lough Gara Way in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon,.
The major expansion of the Scheme is a key commitment of the new National Outdoor Recreation Strategy, ‘Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors’.
Minister Humphreys says today’s announcement is all about partnering with farmers and landowners to open up the countrywide – benefitting our walkers, hikers, cyclists and tourists alike.
She wants the expansion to focus on counties which have few or no trails approved under the Walks Scheme.
The Minister also said she is committed to reviewing the number of Rural Recreation Officers currently funded by her Department to deliver the Walks Scheme, particularly where a county is approved a trail under the Scheme and where there is currently no Rural Recreation Officer in place.