Northern Ireland Launches Mountain Bike Strategy 2014-2024
Outdoor Recreation NI, one of the leading organisations behind the recent multi-million pound development of mountain bike trails across Northern Ireland, has this week launched a 10 year strategy for mountain biking aimed at further raising the profile of Northern Ireland as a world class mountain bike destination.
With ambitions for five new national trail centres, three new regional trail centres and six long distance rides alongside Phase II developments in Rostrevor, Castlewellan and Davagh Forest, this strategy aims to generate approximately £25 Million to the local economy per annum as a direct result of mountain biking by 2024.
Whilst these plans may sound ambitious to some, the team at Outdoor Recreation NI are passionate about harnessing Northern Ireland’s mountain biking potential and in the last 18 months have been involved in the opening of over 110km of trails across five locations including the country’s only official downhill trails in Rostrevor and dirt jumps park in Barnett Demesne.
Director of Outdoor Recreation NI, Dr Caro-Lynne Ferris, explains “Northern Ireland has an incredible natural landscape for trails and when coupled with our renowned hospitality we believe there is no better place to come and ride bikes.”
Dr Ferris continues, “It has been amazing to see Northern Ireland’s new trail centres being visited over 100,000 times since their launch in 2013. However never ones to rest on our laurels we want to build on the success of these current trail centres and we see development potential in Glenariff, Binevenagh, Lough Navar, Tollymore and Gortin Glen forest parks to name just a few.”
Events form another important strand to this strategy for mountain biking in Northern Ireland and Outdoor Recreation NI believe that the country’s current and future proposed trail centres can host at least two mountain bike events of international status by 2024.
Chris Scott, manager of Outdoor Recreation NI’s consumer brand, MountainBikeNI.com, explains “With international standard trail centres comes the opportunity to host international standard events. This is obviously an excellent way to drive out-of-state visitor numbers however events such as the UCI World Cup etc also offer significant PR opportunities which will help to positively raise the profile of Northern Ireland across the world.”
Mr Scott continues, “We make no secret of our ambitions to bring national and international standard mountain biking events to Northern Ireland and we certainly feel that our trails centres are worthy of hosting the world’s best riders.”
After so many barren years for mountain biking, Northern Ireland is now realising its potential and with the launch of this 10 year strategic plan, it suddenly now feels like the world’s fastest growing mountain bike destination. Visit www.MountainBikeNI.com for more information on Northern Ireland’s mountain bike trails and strategy moving forward.
Download the Mountain Bike Strategy for Northern Ireland 2014 – 2014