The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail manager and general rail trail proponent, Mr Darren Murphy, steps down from his job on the 1st of December 2006. He has been the full time manager of the rail trail, the only such position that we know of in Australia, for over six years.
When the Alpine, Indigo and Wangaratta shires decided to commit to constructing what is now known as the Murray to Mountains rail trail they decided that, if an almost 100km long asset is to be successful, it needed a full time manager and promoter. While the Murray to Mountains rail trail is not unique in having attractive scenery and towns it has clearly become the most used regional rail trail in Australia because of that decision and Darren’s dedication.
However that is not the only reason for this news item since Darren, rather than treating other rail trail proposals as threats to his funding sources and visitor base, took the attitude that the more high quality rail trails the better for all. On many occasions he assisted other proposed rail trails in his own time and attended conferences related to rail trails and tourism. We thank him for his efforts.
As Victoria’s (and Australia’s) first real decade of rail trail progress ends this highlights the situation that many other rail trails will face, particularly those managed by volunteers. The dedicated enthusiastic pioneers who started them all will be moving on and new people of similar caliber will have to be found to keep the rail trail scene progressing and make it sustainable.
We are not sure who will be taking over Darren’s position.
Darren is still far to young to retire yet! but is leaving his options open for future work. Whatever eventuates we wish him well and hope he keeps in touch with the rail trail community.