Several walking tracks re-opened as storm clean-up continues

A person wearing a backpack, standing in dense forest in the Dandenong Ranges.

Council has been working closely with Parks Victoria to reopen several walking tracks associated with RidgeWalk after the June storm event brought down hundreds of trees in the area.

The Dandenong Ranges National Park was heavily impacted by the storm, with 373 hectares of land within the park affected by downed trees and branches needing to be cleared.

This equates to around 10% of the park being flattened by the storm, with a number of the proposed tracks for RidgeWalk being affected.

As debris clearing works continue, more of these much loved walking tracks are being re-opened to the community, providing a key link between local townships in the area and giving those lucky enough to live within a place to get some exercise within the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Once all trails are made safe, assessments will be made to determine any damage associated to the existing tracks and what further repairs may need to be made as a result.

For a general status update on the Dandenong Ranges National Park following the storm, visit https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/dandenong-ranges-national-park.

Chandler Ward Councillor and Deputy Mayor, David Eastham, said he was excited to see the project continuing to take shape.

“It’s been a tough time for our community with the impacts of the 9 June storm on the back of multiple COVID-19 lockdowns,” Cr Eastham said.

“RidgeWalk is a project that the community can really look forward to after recent challenges and I think it will be something that really benefits the health and wellbeing of everyone who comes to check it out.

“There are a number of exciting opportunities coming up that will allow for local artists and community members to really help shape the look and feel of RidgeWalk, and ensure that it represents the cultural history and current occupants of the area.”

Community members will have the opportunity to have input on many of the projects cultural, artistic and infrastructural elements, with different engagements scheduled in the coming months.

RidgeWalk runs through most areas of the Dandenong Ranges National Park, stretching from suburbs such as Mt Evelyn, Kalorama and Montrose, all the way through to Kallista, Belgrave and Upper Ferntree Gully.

The project celebrates the natural and cultural histories of the Dandenong Ranges, from First Nations People to our current local communities and runs along 39 kilometres of walking track.

RidgeWalk is a $9.8 million project and has had contributions from the Federal Government, the State Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund and Yarra Ranges Council.

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