Wandering through the idyllic Rifle Range Reserve in Emerald is now a much easier feat, with five new walking tracks opened in the last month.
The tracks are part of a joint project between the Central Highlands Regional Council and the federal government to increase the sustainability of the reserve and create community awareness of its value.
‘The reserve now has five walking tracks, ranging from short distances to long,’ Cr Megan Daniels said.
‘Whether you love running, riding your push bike, bird watching or simply going for a stroll, these tracks enable people to take full advantage of this historic piece of bushland. From the incredible plant and fauna species to the indigenous culture, there is just so much to discover and explore.’
The project also includes the installation of interpretive signage and maps to help visitors navigate the 80 hectare block.
Cr Daniels acknowledged the involvement and support of the Central Highlands Regional Resources Use Planning Cooperative (CHRRUP) and the traditional land owners in getting this project off the ground.
‘It’s fantastic to see some of the eco-tourism potential of the reserve realised and I hope it will be enjoyed by locals and travellers alike for many years to come,’ she said.
However, Cr Daniels reminded residents that motorbikes and vehicles are not authorised to access the area.
‘Despite fencing and signage, some motorists continue to ignore the rules and use the space for bush bashing and joy rides,’ she said.
‘This is not only causing damage to the natural area and the tracks, it is also illegal. Anyone who sees or hears motor vehicles in the area should report them immediately to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.’
Cr Daniels said police would also be increasing patrols of the area.
‘Let’s all work together to protect this natural asset for the community, now and into the future.’