A new program in conjunction with Parks Victoria will see Intermediate VCAL students explore the use and management of tracks and trails within the Greater Bendigo National Park.

‘On the Right Track’ will address issues surrounding tracks and trails, including the delicate balance between public use of trails and the need for sustainability to protect local flora and fauna.

The program kicked off this morning with a visit to the Spring Gully Mountain Bike trail where Parks Victoria Community Engagement Ranger, Mike Hayes, explained the importance of well-managed tracks and trails to avoid things such as litter, erosion, and the destruction of natural habitat.

The students also heard from Karen Thomas of the Bendigo Field Naturalists who talked about the ongoing efforts of volunteers who work tirelessly to protect species such as the Brush-tailed Phascogales, the Yellow-footed Antechinus, Sugar Gliders, Native Bush Rats and the Native Otter known as Rakali. She explained the different types of nest boxes volunteers have created and what is involved in their maintenance.

In the afternoon, Mike and Karen took the group on a tour of the One Tree Hill area to inspect nest boxes and see first-hand some of the more popular trails in the park and the efforts being made to ensure people can enjoy the trails without having a detrimental effect on the natural environment.

In the weeks ahead students will assist Parks Victoria by creating surveys to discover the most popular trails in the area, why people use certain trails, and whether people are aware of approved and non-approved trails. They’ll also get involved in a hands-on way, assisting Parks Victoria rangers with some trail management.

Mike Hayes said he was really excited about ‘On the Right Track’. “It’s not just about protecting the natural environment,” he said. “It’s also about ensuring we have healthy environments for people to enjoy, whether they’re bush-walking, riding mountain bikes, or simply enjoying the outdoors.”