Enormous use of trail recorded

A huge number of people were recently recorded using the riverside walking track near the Visitor Information Centre, confirming that once it is developed, the Wagga Rail Trail will become a major community recreation facility.

Over a two-week period in June, a laser beam counter was used to record the number of users on a section of the present riverside walking track upstream of the Visitor Information Centre. Slated as the major track head on the Wagga Rail Trail, this section will become one of the most important and well-used sectors of the developed trail.

During this early winter period, between 130 and 150 daily users were counted, equivalent to approximately 50 000 users per annum. This could be considered as base usage, with significantly greater numbers of people expected to use the trail during the warmer months and holiday periods.

A combination of walkers, joggers and cyclists were recorded using the trail primarily for recreation as well as commuting to and from the CBD. Individuals, couples, family groups and people with prams and/or dogs were all recorded. This level of winter activity demonstrates the current extensive use by the community, and reinforces the need for improved passive recreation facilities in Wagga Wagga.

This data also supports our understanding that the Wagga Rail Trail is justified, based on usage by local people. The attraction of visitors to use the trail will be an additional bonus from its development.

Further recording of summer usage is planned, and combined winter and summer data will then be used in the analysis of the economic benefits of the proposed trail.

Cristy Houghton