Forestry Commission Scotland is to undertake a 'masterplan' for Glentress Forest which will explore further opportunities to develop the popular forest as a major recreation destination with key linkages to the surrounding communities.
The work to create a new masterplan will ensure that future recreation and forestry activities dovetail together and are co-ordinated in a sustainable way.
One key component of the project will be listening to the views of the local community, businesses and forest users to establish their ideas and visions for the future of Glentress.
There will be a number of events, in the near future, where people will have the opportunity to participate in the masterplanning process and we would encourage everyone to get involved.
Hugh McKay, Communities and Recreation Manager based at Glentress said:
"It has been a busy but good first year for Glentress Peel. Visits are over 301,000 for the year, we've won a Gold rating from the Green Tourism Business scheme, a 4 star VisitScotland award and Go-Ape is now operating in the forest.
"The café and bike services have well and truly bedded in and we are getting positive comments on the site as a whole. This is all good news but we don't want to stand still and we think that Glentress has more to offer in support of Scottish Government objectives.
"Every month we are approached by businesses that are eager to talk to us about future development potential but we do not want to do this in a piecemeal way. This is where the new Glentress masterplan comes in as it will take a very thorough look at the bigger picture that could be offered."
"The tax payer contributes around 25% of the cost of running Scotland's national forest estate - the rest of the 75% needs to be raised by the business.
"We've worked very hard to build in better income streams at Glentress. This means we are moving towards a more self supporting status where we break even but we still have a long way to go."
Initial work on the Glentress masterplan has commenced and as part of the process will involve seeking views from the public and stakeholders.
Workshop sessions for key stakeholders will be in early May with the first open day for members of the public on the afternoon of Friday 24th May and on Saturday 25th May. These sessions and open days will be held at Glentress Peel.