Bryan Fennell (Rural Recreation Officer) – In Focus: Episode 238

This week we welcome back an old staple of the Leitrim Daily schedule with our “In Focus” show. For the first show back we are featuring Bryan Fennell, the newest Rural Recreation Officer in Ireland working with the Leitrim Development Company to administer the National Walks Scheme.

The Walks Scheme is a national scheme involving landholders on National Waymarked Ways, Looped Walking Routes and Heritage Routes, and other trails approved by the National Trails Office. Rural Recreation Officers, like Bryan, are responsible for the rollout of the National Walks Scheme.

The Walks Scheme has resulted in the development and enhancement of 44 national trails including The Leitrim Way and The Miners Way locally. The rural recreation officers have also negotiated and managed maintenance contracts with over 1,890 landowners.

As a result, significant social and economic benefits for local communities have been achieved including:
* additional jobs in the accommodation sector
* new business ventures such as bike hire and coffee shops, including more jobs in the supply of outdoor recreational equipment and services
* a noticeable growth in registered walking clubs
* a significant increase in the number and duration of walking festivals which generate additional bed nights in small villages and the wider rural area
* maintenance payments to landholders for trail development, generating an income stream for rural communities of €5.4 million over a 4-year period

Bryan discusses the details of all of this along with how Leitrim farmers and landowners along these routes can get in touch and ensure that they can avail of the supports for maintaining these trails.

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