15 August 2017

Romanian IMBA member driving force behind trail based ecotourism in coal mining region

New Horizons Foundation is a non-profit with its roots in outdoor education and now expanding to mountain biking. The foundation is involved in a trail based ecotourism project in the Jiu Valley, an impoverished coal mining region in the Carpathian mountains, western Romania. Mountain biking has been identified as a way to inject new life into economy and diversify the active tourism industry in this region. 

Having the vision is one thing; it is exciting to see that the local community support has been tremendous including funding and equipment such as excavators. The work progresses rapidly and the first purpuse built flow trail is expected to be finished in September. The publicity around the projects has resulted in many new visitors, mostly mountain bikers who discovered the benefits of the Gondola working on weekends for unlimited uplifts at low cost. The local Rotary Club embraced the initiative too and made it their signature project. 

Last April, staff and volunteers of New Horizons attended the IMBA trail building school in Vale di Sole Italy. IMBA Europe provide a letter of recommended to engage local stakeholders and provided case studies and reports to help develop a well founded strategy. Plans for 2018 include hosting a region MTB conference and extension of the current trail network. Want to know more about this project? Contact Dana Brandi, danabrandi@new-horizons.ro or visit the website to follow new developments