POLICE are investigating damage to new trails being constructed at Davagh Forest Park after vandals riding quads and scramblers wrecked the new routes.
The development, which has taken a number of years to become reality, could now be delayed or even halted altogether after the council said the limited budget will almost certainly be affected.
They stressed that it is important members of the public who suspect misuse during the construction period, or indeed after the trails have opened next year, should contact the local authorities.
Police are investigating an incident at some point between September 1 and 2 and Cookstown District Council’s Acting Chief Executive Adrian McCreesh said the public must be aware use of the trails before they are complete is illegal.
“People are understandably curious about this trails development at Davagh and indeed excited about the opportunities that these trails hold for our local economy. However, this illegal activity which has taken place has caused extensive damage to the trails and has jeopardised the progress of the project. There is a limited budget therefore any delays could halt the delivery and cost of the Davagh Forest Trails.”
Sean Cavlin, Assistant Leisure Services Manager with Cookstown Council said the activity at the site is disappointing.
“It has taken a number of years for this landmark development to come to fruition here at Davagh Forest and it would be a great shame to see the progress of the project jeopardised by the actions of a few not adhering to the temporary restrictions in place.
“The trails themselves have been designed by the UK’s leading experts to be durable and sustainable for the thousands of walkers and mountain bikers expected to visit Davagh Forest year on year. However, such is the nature of the trails that they simply will not be able to cope with quad-bikes and other motorised vehicles.
“It is therefore important that the local community is patient and fully supports the trails by staying out of the restricted areas, reporting misuse and letting the contractors deliver this project on time.”