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Grand journey

FISH Creek is likely to be home to one of Victoria’s most iconic walking trails.
A community group continues to advocate for South Gippsland Shire Council to support the completion of the Hoddle Mountain Trail spanning 17km of road, existing trail and the Great Southern Rail Trail, starting and finishing in town.
The volunteer group is asking council to upgrade three kilometres of Fish Creek Quarry Road as part of the trail and for council to recognise the trail as a community asset.
Hoddle Mountain Trail Management Group president Richard Dargaville is optimistic the trail will be formerly recognised, even though walkers have long been using the existing sections of the trail.
“We do not think there are significant issues at all and they are not insurmountable,” he said.
“It’s a walking track so the standards required are very different to the rail trail. The track in its present condition is perfectly walkable and the standard of the track is no different to well recognised trails in other parts of the world.”
Mr Dargaville is asking council to repair a washaway near a culvert by laying gravel and rock, and in the future, consider improving a steel bridge.
“There has been voluntary work done in the past. In the last 10 years there has been no expenditure and it is still perfectly usable,” he said.
Most of the trail is on public land, including land owned by South Gippsland Water, which has supported the trail.
Group secretary Tony Walker said, “There is no need for people to get in the car and drive to the Prom. The trail starts and finishes in Fish Creek if you do the full 17km,” adding the trail can be walked in shorter sections too, with access from Beards Road and Mount Nicoll Road.
South Gippsland Shire Council has included the trail in its Paths and Trails Strategy 2017, to be released for public comment this week.
Following this consultation period, the draft strategy will be presented to council for adoption. Funding for projects will be considered on a project by project basis as part of the budget process.
Mayor Cr Ray Argento said some of the trail traversed a council owned quarry and council was concerned about the risk posed by walkers being in an industrial site.
“If council decides the quarry is surplus to its requirements in the future, where does that leave the trail?” he said.
Mr Dargaville said, “We are trying to follow all the guidelines that council has given us in terms of how we go about promoting and getting official blessing for the trail,” he said, noting some instances of accidental trespass had included in the past.
The trail will be a tourism drawcard for South Gippsland and particularly Fish Creek. Walkers join the trail by taking the Great Southern Rail Trail east from Fish Creek and then taking Fish Creek Quarry Road.
The trail later joins the Loader Track and Mount Nicoll lookout walk before rejoining the rail trail and returning to Fish Creek, and offers views of Wilsons Promontory, Corner Inlet, Shallow Inlet and Tarwin Valley.
“Very quickly you get into rural country and attractive bush, and you get views within an hour’s walking,” Mr Dargaville said.
The trail proposal is far from new and was first backed by council in 2003.
“There was some work done to improve the trial but it had been used by locals for decades,” Mr Walker said.
“The Hoddle Mountain Trail Management Group is certainly willing and able to undertake the work but we need some formal recognition from council for us to be able to undertake that.”

Aiming big: Hoddle Mountain Trail Management Group secretary Tony Walker (left) and president Richard Dargaville enjoy a section of the trail on Fish Creek Quarry Road, Fish Creek.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22806

Posted by on Oct 10 2017. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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