Walking paths and tourist routes across Scotland’s forestry estate, including the West Highland Way, are to be improved as a result of a £3.15 million funding boost.
The cash boost, to Forestry Commission Scotland, is part of the £205 million package of measures recently announced by Finance Secretary John Swinney to support jobs and growth in Scotland.
The forestry allocation includes:
- £1 million on the Great Glen Way to build over 11 miles of new path and upgrade surfaces on this popular tourist route which runs from Fort William to Inverness
- £750,000 to help improve parts of the famous West Highland Way long distance trail and associated routes in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
- £900,000 towards building refurbishment, to include installing a biomass based heating system in the forestry office at Aberfoyle, to improve its carbon rating, and upgrading workshops at Cairnbaan in West Argyll and at Creebridge in Galloway
- £500,000 funding for priority work to stabilise the slopes above the busy A82 near Fort William where harvesting of older trees is taking place
Mr Wheelhouse, Environment & Climate Change Minister said:
“We want more Scots and visitors to enjoy and have access to Scotland’s great outdoors. This funding boost for the Forestry Commission Scotland will help towards achieving that and this is very timely given that US broadcaster CNN has in the last week declared Scotland as its recommendation as the number one place to visit next year.
“The projects will not only create new work and jobs but will also have a lasting benefit in supporting green tourism in rural parts of Scotland and encouraging people to get involved in physical activity.
“Nearly half of Scots questioned recently said they regularly enjoy the outdoors. Simple physical activity not only makes people feel better quickly and helps relieve the stresses of everyday life, but it also adds years of quality life.
“This is why the Scottish Government is developing a National Walking Strategy and this will maximise the very many health benefits to our people arising from our tremendous natural heritage and help realise economic benefits for rural communities. With 2013 being the Year of Natural Scotland, there will never be a better time to enjoy Scotland’s great outdoors.”
The Scottish Government’s programme of capital projects is estimated to support approximately 2,000 jobs across Scotland in 2013-14.