ST. STEPHEN (GNB) – The provincial government announced the New Brunswick Trails Action Plan today in St. Stephen, with an accompanying investment of $15.78 million.

“The provincial government recognizes the importance of trails to economic development, particularly in rural areas, said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames. “Beyond yielding economic benefits, the Trails Action Plan will serve to enhance health and wellness for New Brunswickers.”

The plan includes the development of 11 Signature Trails for multipurpose use, including motorized trails for ATV and snowmobile users, and greenway trails for hiking, cycling, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Signature Trails will focus upon product innovation with the intention of becoming tourism attractions which capture the province’s distinctive heritage, rivers, waterways, views, and topography.

“We are thrilled to see this additional investment in our province’s trails systems,” said Ross Antworth, general manager of the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs and representative of the New Brunswick Trails Council. “New Brunswick’s motorized and greenway trails have been one of the province’s most overlooked assets for decades and we are excited to see their potential maximized through the Trails Action Plan.”

Trails have increasingly become tourism products. With over 20,000 kms of developed trails in New Brunswick, the Trails Action Plan will elevate the province’s trails systems by improving accessibility, safety and overall user experience.

The funding came from the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture’s 2018-19 capital budget.

The New Brunswick Tourism Growth Strategy will invest $100 million in tourism over the next eight years, with a goal of growing tourism-related GDP to $2 billion by 2025. Tourism visitor spending is estimated at $1.3 billion, making it the third-largest service sector in the province.