7stanes gears up for the future

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7Stanes is set to receive more private sector involvement in the future in plans revealed today, set to reinforce Scotland as a top destination for mountain bikers.

Since 2004 the number of people visiting the trail centres has doubled, with some 400,000 people heading to the various trails. The economy has been handsomely boosted as a result, with the annual visitor spend rising to over £9m in 2007.

The public sector partners that contributed to the success of the first two phases of the 7stanes have agreed to continue to support the project for a further three years, with a cash injection of £1 million to be spent securing Scotland’s place as a “global leader in mountain biking excellence.”

The investment, which will be staggered over the next three years, will move the focus to supporting business development based on the existing trail infrastructure and working with local communities on joint initiatives linked to their local trails. The cash will also go towards maintaining and improving the existing trails too.

“The 7stanes has been a major success story,” says Minister for the Environment, Michael Russell, “not only for the south Of Scotland but also in building Scotland’s image world-wide as an outstanding destination for mountain bikers.

“The continuation of this successful public and private sector partnership will not only reinforce Scotland’s reputation in the sport, but will bring wider benefits to businesses and communities alike.”

The 7stanes team will be retained by Forestry Commission Scotland to deliver the project aims on behalf of the partners; Scottish Enterprise, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council and VisitScotland, with additional support being sought from Solway Heritage and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Other work includes exploring training opportunities in areas such as mountain biking technology and trail building disciplines, improving forest interpretation, supporting the World Mountain Biking Conference in Dumfries in 2009 and refining the current national and international marketing.

www.7stanes.gov.uk

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