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Linking central Victoria via the old railway line
Users of the O’Keefe Rail Trail will now have another opportunity to further enjoy the rail trail as well as the linked native forests and facilities. The Knowsley Forest’s Smart Track Day Visitor Area has recently had its facilities upgraded by the forest’s manager, the Dept of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) under a State Government funded Victorian Great Outdoors Project.
With the rail trail traversing through the Knowsley Forest, one of four State forests that the trail connects with, the trail’s users have only a short distance from the trail to travel along the forest track to reach this upgraded Day Visitor Area.
The forest’s Day Visitor Area upgraded facilities include new toilets, a new shelter with tables and seats, outdoor tables and seats, an information board, a water dam feature, as well as a car parking area. Installation of a new BBQ facility is also being planned. The rail trail directly crosses Smart Track, within the forest, where signage indicates direction to the Day Visitor Area.
With the Day Visitor Area being located immediately off Smart Track right within the forest environment, this gives forest visitors a chance to explore the forest and beyond by walking or riding the rail trail and/or forest tracks.
These new toilets are a much needed facility for visitors to the forest, especially for users of the popular O’Keefe Rail Trail with its extended distances between such public facilities along the 50km long rail trail. The Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail have made a submission to the City of Greater Bendigo, for funding the provision of new toilets and car-park adjacent to the trail at Peppercorn Park Longlea, so it is hoped that this proposed project will be given priority in the council’s 2022-23 budget.