Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys has launched a public consultation on Ireland’s first national outdoor leisure strategy.
The consultation will last three weeks and will involve members of the public to express their views on how best to improve and develop facilities such as hiking trails, bike paths, waterways, beaches, mountains, moors and forests.
The public is also encouraged to consider ways to develop active tourism and activities such as cycling, climbing, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, paragliding and hang gliding.
The strategy is being developed in collaboration with Comhairle na Tuaithe (The Countryside Council).
Development of outdoor facilities
At the start of the public consultation today (Wednesday June 2), Minister Humphreys said:
“Covid-19 has shown us all how important our outdoor activities are for our mental and physical well-being.
“Our new National Outdoor Recreation Strategy is all about investing in our nature.
“I would like to get the opinion of as many citizens and stakeholders as possible on how we can best develop our outdoor offers such as our hiking trails, bike paths, rivers, forests and mountains.
“And I want this strategy to have a big focus on tourism, including adventure tourism. The interest in the great outdoors has increased significantly among all tourists at home and abroad, and we are well positioned to meet this demand. “
The minister said that outdoor recreation “will undoubtedly be the key to our recovery from Covid-19”.
“A strategy like this will help us rethink and revitalize our rural landscape, which we set out to do in Our Rural Future,” she added.
Two step process
This is the first stage of a two-stage consultation process. In the first phase, interested stakeholders and individuals are encouraged to share their views on outdoor recreation through an online questionnaire.
Fill out the online questionnaire to give your opinion on outdoor recreation.
The answers will feed into the preparation of the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy for Ireland. The deadline for submissions is June 23 at 5:00 p.m.