Upgrades to the Sapphire Gemfields Wetland Reserve are nearing completion, with the 14 hectare protected area now incorporating walking and cycling tracks, seating, a restored historic fossicker’s home, a boardwalk and bird watching hide.
The project was jointly funded by the Central Highlands Regional Council and the Australian Government’s National Stronger Region’s Fund, which contributed almost $110,000.
‘The reserve is an important natural attraction in our region, with the freshwater wetland home to a range of local flora and fauna,’ Cr Megan Daniels said.
‘The aim of this project was to enhance the recreational and educational use of the area, not just for visitors but for locals as well. We also wanted to tap into the developing trend for nature-based tourism, providing economic benefits to the Gemfields and the Highlands.’
The project has included the construction of more than 3.6 km of gravel walking trails, with accompanying educational and directional signage, as well as two viewing areas.
‘We have also paid tribute to the region’s rich heritage by restoring a piece of fossicking history,’ Cr Daniels said.
‘The dwelling was built by one of the original residents to the Sapphire area, the Dove family, and is a unique glimpse into the way miners lived.’
The upgraded reserve will complement the recently opened Sapphire Gemfields Interpretive Trail, a tourism initiative highlighting the tales and history of the area.
For more information on the attractions visit www.centralhighlands.com.au