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28/06/19 New TrailGazers project launched


Cathaoirleach Cllr. Nicholas Crossan launching the new €2.7m Trailgazers project in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel on Monday last with Project Partners from nine different regions in Ireland, the UK, Spain, Portugal and France along with Council Officials.


An Cathaoirleach Cllr. Nicholas Crossan launched the new €2.7m TrailGazers project on Monday last in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel.  This project which will see Donegal benefitting from approximately €600K, is being led by Donegal County Council and will look at new and innovative ways that walks and recreational trails can better link with the surrounding local and rural communities to enhance economic and social development.  


Funded under the Atlantic Area Programme, this project will see Donegal County Council working with nine partners from different regions in Ireland, the UK, Spain, Portugal and France. 


Speaking at the launch Cllr. Crossan said “walking and hiking have increased in popularity and attract more and more visitors to the county to explore and experience all that Donegal and the region has to offer”.  


He added “walking and recreational trails are also important assets in our communities in that they help improve both our physical and mental wellbeing, they allow people to socialise much more easily and they also offer us an opportunity to get back in touch with nature providing sustainable access to special areas of conversation, wildlife sanctuaries and ancient woodlands and so on.”


Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of visitors to these walks and trails have increased in recent years, with people travelling further afield to participate in walking festivals, coastal and mountain challenges and sponsored walks.


TrailGazers offers an opportunity for key stakeholders to come together to examine how best to engage with these new visitors and encourage them off the trails to explore what the wider area has to offer including for example cafes, craft shops, artisan foods, hotels and pubs and encourage them to stay longer.   This is the essence of what Trail Gazers is setting out to achieve - by examining how walks and recreational trails can be used as catalysts for the economic and social development of small rural economies and communities in an environmentally sustainable way.


The TrailGazers Project is funded under the Atlantic Area Programme and will be managed by Donegal County Council’s Research and Policy Unit along with nine partners from different regions in Ireland, the UK, Spain, Portugal and France.  All of the project partners bring with them a vast amount of experience and knowledge that will help develop and enhance the opportunities presented in this growing sector.


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