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Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead today (Friday 20 February) visited Fochabers to announce a £100,000 investment in Moray Monster mountain bike trails.
The funding – principally from Forestry Commission Scotland, which manages the trails, and the Commonwealth Legacy 2014 Active Places Fund via sportscotland – will see existing trails upgraded, new sections added, and the construction of a new skills area.
The work is expected to be completed and the new facilities open in September.
Mr Lochhead said;
“This is great news for the Moray area and illustrates the many benefits our local forests deliver for the local community.
“There are lots of Forestry Commission Scotland sites in the north east that are great places to go for some fresh air, exercise and fun activities but this £100,000 investment will make the Monster Trails a key attraction.
“It will offer something for everyone – from experienced riders to families looking for a great day out - and that will really benefit the area’s tourism economy.
“But will also create a fantastic resource for local communities, with the new skills area providing an ideal venue to introduce children to mountain biking through the Active Schools Programme, or through local groups such as Outfit Moray and the Moray Mountain Bike Club.”
The National Forest Estate in the north east is a significant contributor to the tourist economy and supports the Scottish Government’s healthy living agenda.
The Monster Trails is already one of the most extensive MTB facilities in the North east of Scotland with around 30 km of trails on offer. Well known trails like The Haggis, Gordzilla and the Gully monster have helped build a strong reputation for some great riding.
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said:
“We are delighted that the Active Places Fund from Glasgow 2014 will benefit this wonderful initiative and the Moray area.
“The Monster Trails will be of real benefit to the local community. sportscotland is committed to providing more and better opportunities for people to take part in sport and physical activity and we view this project as a key part of this commitment.”
The Commission’s woodlands in the north east attract over 1.75 million visits each year, bringing £14million to the local economy. Cycling and mountain biking accounts for 8% of those visits.
The monster trails already see around 15,000 visits each year with numbers expected to increase with the additional investment.
The project is strongly supported by local groups such as the Moray Mountain Bike club & Moray Council active Schools team.
Notes to Editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
2. For news, events and recreation information log on to www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests For Twitter: www.twitter.com/fcscotlandnews
3. The Project will include:
At Whiteash Forest (eastern edge of Fochabers)
• repair & upgrade work on 2.5 miles of the Fochabers Ring red trail to dramatically improve the flow of the trail, including the addition of some new sections (£15k FCS)
• a new MTB skills area suitable for riders of all levels of ability either as a warm up area or for skill development (£32k FCS / £28K Sports Scotland)
• new start and finish sections to the Soup Dragon Blue trails, providing a memorable trail and also preparing for future expansion of the currently very small car park at this site. (£15k FCS)
4. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Officer, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590