Murray Coorong Trail draws a step closer with $410,000 funding win

The state government and three local councils want to speed up construction of a 450km trail along the River Murray.

A walking trail that promises to draw tens of thousands of visitors to the Murraylands is one big step closer to being completed.

Late last month, the state government announced it would invest $205,000 in the Murray Coorong Trail, which will eventually stretch along the River Murray from Salt Creek to Cadell.

The Murray Bridge, Coorong and Mid Murray councils will provide another $205,000 between them.

The cash will help with both the design and construction of the 450-kilometre trail.

So far only a few dozen kilometres of the trail have been laid out, including a section which winds through the Narooma Wetland and others which stretch along the levee banks near Murray Bridge.

The Murray Coorong Trail will pass through the Narooma Wetland, between Sturt Reserve and Long Island Reserve, Murray Bridge. Photo: Graham Hallandal.

Murray Bridge Mayor Brenton Lewis said the trail would be a tourist drawcard, but would also give local walkers, riders and nature lovers something new to explore.

“This trail capitalises on ... environmental assets including the Murray River, our untouched wilderness in our national parks, the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve and the unique beauty of the Coorong,” he said.

“Our wider region has already experienced a surge in popularity following the development of trails such as the Lavender Federation Trail, facilities for walkers and cyclists in Kinchina Conservation Park and the likes of the Murray Canoe Trail.

“The Murray Coorong Trail will add to our outstanding recreational tourism offering.”

Coorong Mayor Paul Simmons said there were magnificent areas along the River Murray that most people still did not know existed.

“This trail will put them on the map, quite literally,” he said.

Planning and Local Government Minister Vickie Chapman said the funding for the trail, from the state Open Spaces and Places for People grant program, would create employment as well as providing public health benefits.

In 2019, Mid Murray Mayor David Burgess estimated that the trail would attract more than 20,000 visitors per year, bringing $2 million per year into the Murraylands’ economy.

All sections of the trail are not expected to be complete until sometime in the 2030s.

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