Mid Ulster Sinn Féin Councillor Ronan McGinley is encouraging people to get involved and express their views about the potential of Drumcairne Forest at Stewartstown which he believes has “massive potential.”
The Forestry Service currently is inviting the public to participate in the scoping of a new forestry plan for forests and woodland in the area.
Drumcairne Forest sits not far from the shores of Lough Neagh, approximately eight miles from Cookstown, and has just under 200 acres of woodland.
Local Councillor McGinley said: “Drumcairne Forest is a wonderful asset to the local community and those visiting the area. It has massive potential. However, it has been left unmaintained and underdeveloped for far too long.
“People, including myself, have great memories of the woodland and are understandably frustrated with the way it has been left today.
“I have spoken with many local people about the potential it has, and they want to see it receive the investment it needs. We all know budgets are tight, but with a small resource and a bit of work we know the area could see a great improvement.
I hope everyone submits a response to the Forestry Service and advocates for Drumcairne Forest, something we are lucky to have on our door step.”
Continuing he said: “We would like to see the re-opening of the car park as soon as possible and the development of a sustainable trail which could be enjoyed by all members of the community.
“It wouldn’t take much to landscape the terraced gardens and ponds which are already there.
“With the introduction of a few seats and possibly a picnic area, Drumcairne Forest would once again be a usable open space the local community could benefit from, and visitors could come and enjoy.
“Knowing some of the issues our society faces today, the revitalisation of Drumcairne Forest would make a positive contribution.
“Our local environment could be enjoyed in a safe and sustainable way, and outdoor activity is always time well spent helping to keep people active and reduce mental health issues.”
Councillor McGinley added that putting the effort into developing the full potential of Drumcairne Forest “makes perfect sense.”
Anyone interested in becoming involved have until September 27 to make their views known. The plan, which also covers East Fermanagh, is aimed at promoting afforestation and sustainable forestry in both regions.