A RAIL trail would give schools the unprecedented opportunity to study the Riverina’s environment, an ecologist has said.
It comes as the project’s major backer endorsed the idea of a rail trail smart phone app which could be used by people to find out more about the pathway.
Wagga ecologist and Landcare volunteer Pat Murray said the environment surrounding the unused rail corridor to Ladysmith had a wide variety of life.
“Along the track at Governor’s Hill, that is a recognised area for the Superb Parrot,” she said.
“They are a threatened species that occur in Wagga and along the river.”
Dr Murray said a trail would allow students to see a cross- section of different wildlife, especially if native shrubs were to be replanted along the path.
“Having such a facility would be really great for school groups, even just accessing parts of it,” she said.
“They don’t necessarily have to use a bike to enjoy it, and it opens up a whole new wonderful prospect for wildlife observation.”
Wagga Rail Trail chair Lisa Glastonbury said residents in suburban areas didn’t have much day to day contact with native ecology.
The proposed pathway plan would give people the chance to get up close and personal with the local environment, with the help of information signs, she said.
“The trail experience will also be enhanced by a smartphone Trail App that will tell unique stories about these environmental features, Landcare stories and give an insight into the farming activities near the trail,” Ms Glastonbury said.
Tatton resident and cyclist Janet Hume said she supports a rail trail because it would allow her to experience the environment’s surrounds without being concerned by traffic and road rules.
“A rail trail is such a great way to get closer to nature and be able to ride your bike, in a safe environment,” she said.
“One can slow down or stop and take time to find that bird in the tree top that had just flown across in front of you without the fear of having to get safely off the road.”
Rail trail supporters have called for the disused 21-kilometre corridor between Ladysmith and Wagga to be converted into a path for recreation purposes.