WITH the great outdoors playing such an important part in helping people cope with the various lockdowns of the last year, the public are now being urged to come forward with their own proposals to enhance one of Tyrone’s best-loved amenity sites.
Over the next two weeks, people can have their say in a public consultation on the development of Gortin Lakes and the associated Boorin National Nature Reserve (NNR).
It is part of an initiative by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to develop the Gortin Lakes as a space for outdoor recreation.
Over the last number of weeks the lakes and forest park have seen a flood of visitors during the latest lockdown.
Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Diana Armstrong said they hoped to unlock the potential of the area.
“The Sperrins region is renowned for its unspoiled natural landscapes and ongoing investment, particularly at Gortin Glen Forest Park, is contributing to the development of the area as a destination for outdoor recreation for everyone, from local families to tourists and outdoor enthusiasts,” said Cllr Armstrong.
“(The) Council has long regarded the Gortin Lakes area as an important community resource and has potential for further sympathetic development. The forthcoming consultation process will provide the local community with an opportunity to help shape any future development of the area before options are developed and sources of funding identified and I would encourage local people to get involved and have their say.”
Sarah Steer from Outdoor Recreation NI which is facilitating the consultation said, “ORNI’s study of outdoor recreation in Northern Ireland during 2020 demonstrated how vital local outdoor amenities such as Gortin Lakes are to communities during Covid-19 lockdowns.
“As an organisation we believe passionately that any new developments should meet the needs of the local people as well as attracting visitors from further afield.
“This is the time for people to share their opinions with us and so we would encourage members of the local community to complete the survey.”
Members of the public are invited to express their views on the future development by taking part in an online survey. The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/gortinlakes until January 31.
Last month 13km of new mountain bike trails opened at Gortin Glens after the completion of the first phase of the £1m redevelopment of the popular forest park.