Conference Report – First Australian Tracks and Trails Conference

The First Australian Tracks and Trails Conference was held between 11 and 13 May at Pinnacle Valley Resort near Mansfield, Victoria. Over 130 people attended the conference from around Australia and overseas representing local and state government, universities, trail management groups and community organisations. Two people attended on behalf of Railtrails Australia: Vince Aitkin and Alexander McCooke. Fiona Colquhoun who was attending on behalf of Parks Victoria is also on the Railtrails committee.

Ian Geer and Graeme Stoney MP discuss the Bonnie Doon Railtrail. Photo credit: Alexander McCooke

Railtrails were well represented at the conference. Once of the nine blocks of sessions was devoted to railtrails and they received mentions in a number of other sessions. One of the railtrails sessions was presented by Vince Aitkin, our treasurer, on “Railtrails Linking Communities”.

On the last day of the conference, field trips were conducted. One of these visited the former railway to Mansfield, to look at the former Bonnie Doon railway bridge which is now part of a short railtrail and the potential for a much longer trail along this railway line. The trip was lead by Graeme Stoney MP, David Heale from NRE and Ian Geer from the Shire of Delatite who manage the current trail.

Another conference is planned for two years time to be held in Western Australia, hosted by TrailsWest.

Inspecting the Bonnie Doon Bridge. Photo credit: Alexander McCooke

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