Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys has launched a public consultation on Ireland’s first National Outdoor Recreation Strategy.

The consultation will last for three weeks and will involve members of the public giving their views on how best to improve and develop amenities such as trails, cycleways, waterways, beaches, mountains, bogs and forests.

The public is also being asked to consider ways to develop activity tourism and pursuits such as cycling; rock climbing; kayaking; surfing; wind-surfing; sailing; paragliding; and hang-gliding.

The strategy is being developed in partnership with Comhairle na Tuaithe (The Countryside Council).

Develop outdoor amenities

Launching the public consultation today (Wednesday, June 2), Minister Humphreys said:

“Covid-19 has shown us all how vital our outdoor amenities are for our mental and physical wellbeing.

“Our new National Outdoor Recreation Strategy will be all about investing in our great outdoors.

“I want to get the views of as many members of the public and stakeholders on how best to develop our outdoor amenities such as our hiking trails, cycleways, rivers, forests and mountains.

“And I want this strategy to place a big focus on tourism, including adventure tourism. There is clearly growing interest in the great outdoors amongst all tourists, both domestically and internationally, and we are well positioned to respond to that demand.”

The minister said that outdoor recreation is “without doubt, going to be key to our recovery post-Covid-19”.

“A strategy like this will help us reimagine and revitalise our rural countryside, which is what we have set out to do in Our Rural Future,” she added.

Two-stage process

This is the first stage of a two-stage consultation process. In the first stage, interested stakeholders and individuals are encouraged to share their views on outdoor recreation via an online questionnaire.

To input your views on outdoor recreation, complete the online questionnaire.

Responses will inform the preparation of the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy for Ireland. The closing date for receipt of submissions is 5:00p.m on June 23.