Protecting these continuous forests would bring great conservation tourism opportunities and attract conservation tourism investors and businesses.
Emerald Link is working to make the visitor economy a real alternative to traditional and declining industries.
The proposed route is 120km long and makes use of 70 kms of existing tracks and roads. Construction of approximately 50km of track would be required.
Making use of existing roads and tracks creates opportunities for the trail to be experienced through multiple recreational activities such as cycling, trial riding and car touring. It is possible to drive to several places on the proposed track, camp and go for short walks.
The design of the proposed route recognises the need to cater for different recreational users. Some users may like to hike the entire route over a 10 day period, while others may prefer to drive to sections of the route, camp and go for short walks or bike rides at various points along the track.
Making use of existing roads and tracks also allow walkers easy access to get on or off the track without completing the entire route.
The town of Bemm River would receive great benefits from the establishment of a multi-day walk, such as business opportunities and the jobs created in accommodation facilities, restaurants and tourist transfer businesses.
Hikers could complete the Croajingalong coastal walk or a short section of it, before joining the Sea to Summit Forest Trail and following the forested foothills to some of the highest mountains in East Gippsland .
The track can be walked as a loop that takes in the iconic rainforest stronghold of Goolengook, reaches the summit of Mount Ellery as a side trip and returns to the coast via the iconic Kuark Forest.
Commencing near the coastal town of Bemm River on Sydenham inlet, the walk winds through sheltered coastal forest, flowering heathlands and jungle like rainforest as it heads north following the heritage listed Bemm River.
After crossing the Princes Highway, the walk climbs into the foothills where a loop commences. Walkers can choose the westerly route through Kuark Forest or continue north into Goolengook, both routes passing through ancient forest home to some of Victoria’s largest trees, enchanting fern gullies and verdant green rainforest.
Routing the trail through the Kuark Forest and the rainforest areas of the Arte River, would make good campsites easy to establish, especially in the Arte River Flora Reserve with its rare ‘overlap’ rainforest where warm and cool temperate rainforests meet.
Existing roads in the area would easily provide vehicle access so walkers can leave or join and have an opportunity to re-supply at several points along the way.
Goolengook is Victoria’s quintessential old growth forest. Goolengook’s forests are nationally significant. They contain rare rainforest and plants such as the Slender Tree fern and habitat for endangered wildlife.
The Kuark Forest and Goolengook tracks converge on Greens Road where walkers could make a final side trip from the already established Ellery Camp to the summit of Mount Ellery.
The section of Greens Road that goes through the existing Errinundra National Park would easily be converted into a world-class hiking trail, with campsites, lookouts, side trip tracks and rangers huts along the way. The road is currently closed to vehicle traffic and would be the perfect base to establish a multi-day walk.
A walk of this size would put the region on the map and attract international and domestic tourists, seeking a true forest wilderness experience in unique environments found nowhere else on Earth.