The local representative was speaking after the 45th Castlewellan and District Annual Agriculture Show, which he hailed as a great success.
Patrick Clarke said: “Castlewellan Forest Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty, but it is in need of serious investment if it is going to continue to attract tourists to the area.
“This year over 10,000 people enjoyed the annual show, including the Agriculture Minister. She witnessed first-hand the crowds such an event can bring to the park, but also how years of neglect are starting to take its toll on the area.
“I know the Minister is aware of the problems facing the park. I’ve heard the talk and now I want to see action. Parts of the forest park are already almost derelict and this cannot be allowed to continue. The area is widely used by surrounding communities and investment must be made before the entire park falls to rack and ruin.
“I have also contacted the Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to voice my concerns. I firmly believe Newcastle and the surrounding area have a lot to offer, yet time and time again are ignored when Northern Ireland is promoted. This has to change.
“I want to congratulate the organising committee on a job well done. The success of the event was evident in the thousands of people enjoying all the agriculture show has to offer. Surely news of major investment in the area would be the perfect thank-you for all their hard work?”