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Ballymoney
Sunday, July 3, 2022

£1million investment in International Appalachian Trail will benefit future generations – Poots

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots has officially launched a newly enhanced section of the Ulster-Ireland International Appalachian Trail (IAT) during a visit to the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh.

The Minister also unveiled a piece of public art which is just one part of the £137,000 worth of improvements along the Fermanagh and Omagh stretch of the 279 miles trail which runs from Donegal to Larne.

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Speaking at the launch event, he said DAERA’s funding was enhanced by more than £48,000 from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

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“I am delighted to support this project, which aims to promote the International Appalachian Trail to local and international visitors, through the LEADER Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 Co-operation Scheme. 

“The funding has meant significant improvements will contribute to a quality visitor and walking experience and as well as providing a much needed boost to the local economy. Such projects have many positive benefits for both present and future generations as it connects people and places,” Minister Poots told the guests at the event hosted by the Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group (FOLAG).

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The Ulster-Ireland section of the IAT walking trail runs from West Donegal, through the Sperrins Mountains, the Causeway Coast and the Glens of Antrim to Larne. It crosses four Ulster counties, six local council areas and several areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The investment project has been delivered by Local Action Groups (LAGs) which administer the RDP funding for their council area.

FOLAG chair, Stephen Huggett, said: “The International Appalachian Trail (IAT) Ulster-Ireland project is a cross border/cross council area project that has enabled a vast amount of upgrading to route infrastructure and facilities, which can be enjoyed by visitors from near and far. Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Group is delighted to have been involved in this project and very proud to have contributed significantly to the development of the trail.”

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