Hotham track expecting influx of walkers

HARRIETVILLE is a mecca for bushwalkers and a significant influx is expected over the holiday period.

Tracks which were damaged by bushfires followed by a massive storm and flooding in April have been restored in time for the Christmas break.

The Bon Accord and West Ovens tracks have just recently been opened.

Trees were cleared from the North West Spur and North Razorback tracks which enabled them to be back in use by November 22.

The Harrietville Community Forum was formed after the fires to work with government departments to ensure restoration works on tracks.

Chairman John Atkins said the Bon Accord track was badly damaged with gullies washed away in a massive downpour in April.

Mr Atkins said a further $250,000 needs to be spent on that track based on Parks Victoria’s own estimate to get it back to top condition.

There are a variety of walks and Mr Atkins said the Bon Accord is the most challenging.

“The Feathertop walk is among the best in Australia,” he said.

The Alpine Council had recently provided more than $100,000 which Mr Atkins said would be used on an eco-tourism master plan and projects.

Member for Benalla Bill Sykes said the re-opening of the tracks was an important milestone for the Harrietville community.

“The works on the Bon Accord track involved reinstating and defining the track, installing small bridges, repairing eroded sections and realigning parts of the track around major washouts and gullies,” he said.

“Over 100 trees have been cleared from the track and dozens of hazardous trees have been assessed and felled as part of the project.”

Dr Sykes said the works to date ensured that the track could be open and safe for users but more needed to be done.

The Bon Accord Spur was the original route taken by walkers, horse riders and pack horses to Mount Hotham before construction of the Great Alpine Road.

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