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Forrest to coast trail proposed

The mountain bike park at Forrest could be linked to the coast at Lorne and Wye River.

A new proposal from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning envisages trails of beginner to intermediate trail standard, including a link via Mt Cowley.

The plan also includes a Wye River trail loop.

The concepts have emerged from consultation for a draft plan for a walking trail network from Fairhaven to Skenes Creek.

The trails would be of varying terrain through dense forest and bushland scenery with some coastal views.

They would connect with Forrest, Lorne, Separation Creek, Wye River and Fairhaven.

The departments says specialist trail designers have undertaken desktop assessments and field work to identify route options and develop a draft trail concept.

More detailed investigations would take place if the project proceeds to the next stage of development.

100 kilometres of walking trails along the coast are the main focus us of the plan.

Once built, the walking trails would link the existing Surf Coast Walk to the Great Ocean Walk.

Key design principles are:

  • seek out an iconic and world-class user experience to attract longer-stay visitors
  • use existing infrastructure where possible to minimise environmental impacts and cost
  • accommodation and facilities are provided in townships to drive economic benefit
  • provide a mix of hinterland and coastal trail to showcase the area’s diverse landscapes.

The Department is seeking feedback on the draft trail concept to be used to further develop the concept design and feasibility study.

More information is available here, and here.

Have your say here: https://engage.vic.gov.au/trail-study.

One additional opportunity may be to consider designing the trails to appeal to the booming gravel bike trend.

The plans seem to assume the biking trails audience would be single track riders, but if the trails were more cross-country in orientation, that could open them up to much larger numbers of riders, not just MTB enthusiasts.

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