The Hume and Hovell Walking Track is getting a facelift as work on the pedestrian bridge replacement program steams ahead.
The program started in November 2019 and, despite the impact of bushfires and the pandemic, 37 bridges and boardwalks have been replaced along the Track with the majority being built after COVID restrictions eased in mid-2020.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands partners with Snowy Valleys Council to deliver maintenance and upgrades on the 426km track that passes through Yass, Wee Jasper, Albury, Tumut, Talbingo and Tumbarumba.
Local indigenous contractor Maliyan Horizon and inmates from Mannus Correctional Centre have also helped with track and weed clearing.
Member for Albury Justin Clancy and Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckermen announced $1.5 million funding in November 2020 for additional track improvement work as part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 stimulus program.
“The funds will allow replacement of an additional 15 pedestrian bridges, new steel steps at 30 fence crossings, regeneration of lookouts, new camping huts, upgraded track markers and information signs, and resurfacing of trails,” Mr Clancy said.
“Much of the recent Track work has been undertaken on the section from Wee Jasper to the Snowy Mountains Highway and around the Henry Angel Trackhead camp near Tumbarumba.”
Mayor James Hayes said he was pleased the Track was benefiting from an extra $1.5million in COVID-19 stimulus funding from the NSW Government towards the bridge replacement program and an expanded scope of improvement work.
“The Government stimulus money has come at the right time and will be put to good use in further refreshing the historical track and helping boost local jobs in the region,” Cr Hayes said.
“There are numerous interesting spots to explore along the track, and many of them nearby to Tumut, Talbingo and Tumbarumba, so it is an important asset for our region which helps to build tourism numbers and visitation.”
Mrs Tuckerman said: “When the track first opened in 1988 it focused on hardcore hikers but there is great potential to accommodate more walkers with shorter options to the full 20-day hike.
“Hiker huts are being upgraded around Wee Jasper to attract more people from the Canberra area, and shorter loop walks explored to add value to local tourism.”
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the COVID-19 stimulus program was supporting regional economies and infrastructure.
“Bushwalking is a great healthy activity that is growing in popularity so this investment will help ensure hiking on Crown land contributes to regional tourism and healthy communities,” Mrs Pavey said.
The Hume & Hovell track stretches 426km in a 20-day trek that encompasses 17 campsites between Yass and Albury. Campsites set to get an upgrade include Samuel Bollard Campsite, Burra Creek Precinct and Buddong Creek Precinct.
Approximately 60km of the Hume and Hovell Track remains closed to hikers due to bushfire damage and dangerous trees.
Damage assessments are still being carried out and Track enthusiasts are reminded to check up-to-date information on the Hume and Hovell website or Facebook page before heading out.