Cork County Council is financially backing the creation of a new kayaking and canoeing trail along the River Ilen from Skibbereen to Baltimore.
It is hoped the initiative will encourage more outdoor adventure tourism in the West Cork region.
Officials said Deelish Pier in Skibbereen will be upgraded initially, and then the council will look at doing the same with other slipways where canoeists and kayakers can follow a trail around Roaringwater Bay.
They said Deelish pier is ideally situated as a base for such pursuits, as it is close to Skibbereen town centre, and in the coming years, the local authority hopes to create more routes along the West Cork coast for similar, outdoor, water-borne activities.
The plans were outlined at a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District held in Clonakilty yesterday.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) described it as “a fantastic initiative” which signified that the council “is really serious about promoting tourism”.
“Market research shows that people are really interested in activity-based holidays. This will be a great boost to Skibbereen and Roaringwater Bay,” he said.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said he was also aware that some people wanted to develop river trips in the area and providing stopping-off points would be ideal for this.
Cllr Michael Collins (Ind) said officials should look at developing other piers for outdoor pursuits in Bantry, Castletownbere, and on the Beara and Sheep’s Head peninsulas.
The chairman of the municipal district, Cllr Pat Murphy (FF), said the project was part of the council’s marine leisure strategy for West Cork.
He said that building such facilities would attract tourists interested in outdoor pursuits and it could only be good for the region’s economy.
“We should build a necklace of these around West Cork,” Cllr Murphy added.
“It’s hoped that in the long term other similar routes can be put in place throughout the coastline. This [Skibbereen/Roaringwater Bay] proposal has the full support and backing of various groups and people involved in this type of leisure pursuit and should also be a boost to the local tourist industry as its popularity is ever increasing,” a council spokesman said.
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