Trails at Sturt Gorge RP: DEWNR Trails Plan
The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) is currently developing a Trails Master Plan for Sturt Gorge RP. The plan aims to evaluate existing trail opportunities, assess the suitability of current trails, and determine the necessary measures to ensure their sustainability for future use. While DEWNR is leading and funding this initiative, the Friends of Sturt Gorge RP are actively involved in supporting the project.
The Friends of Sturt Gorge regularly engage in trail maintenance activities on behalf of DEWNR. Recently, a new management plan was implemented for the park, and although mountain biking was not allowed in the past, DEWNR intends to permit cycling within the park. This decision aligns with the popularity of cycling as a form of recreational activity in South Australia. Moreover, there are existing linear trails along the park’s boundaries that accommodate biking. Given the current park trends and the growing residential population near its periphery, it is crucial to establish well-maintained trails for both walkers and cyclists.
One trail maintenance team has devoted significant effort to the Horner’s Bridge site located on Murray’s Hill Road / Coromandel Parade (UBD Map 166 Ref. M1). They have undertaken tasks such as clearing blackberries, olives, and broom in the area. For visual reference, you can view photos of their work here.
For many years, there has been a need for all-weather river crossings to connect trails on the north and south sides of the river. Thanks to the persistent efforts of the Friends of Sturt Gorge, several of these crossings have now been established.
Warri Parri Track
DEWNR facilitated the movement of large rocks to create a river crossing along the Warri Parri Track. You can find additional pictures of this project here.
In June 2008, stepping stones were installed across the river at Ctenotus Track. These stones have been designed to resemble natural rocks and blend harmoniously with the surroundings.
Rock Armoured Trails
With the dedication of FOSG volunteers and the assistance of Brenton Collins from Trail Solutions Australia, two working bees were organized to implement rock armouring on sections of the trails in the Sturt Gorge, near Bushland Drive in Bellevue Heights. Despite challenging weather conditions, including a scorching 35-degree heat, seven volunteers persevered and exceeded their planned finish time to ensure the success of the project. The working bees aimed to address trail erosion caused by stormwater outlets from Bushland Drive, which has been a recurring issue in Sturt Gorge. By employing rock fords, the trails can be reinforced against the flow of stormwater while maintaining the natural beauty of the gorge. These techniques can be applied to prevent similar erosion in other areas of the park.
Securing raw materials, particularly rocks, for rock armouring can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately, Brenton Collins generously donated rocks for both projects, and Bob Grant sourced some used concrete culverts from the railways for the second project. Gordon’s trailer, equipped with a hydraulic lift, was instrumental in transporting the culverts to the work site. In addition to strengthening the trails, improvements were made to prevent trail damage and the undermining of the roots of two Grey Box trees.