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Gippslanders may soon have a new trail to explore as part of the impressive network of rail trails throughout the region.

A business case and master plan are being developed for a new path between the townships of Yinnar and Boolarra as part of the Grand Ridge Rail Trail.

Local MP Darren Chester said this early work was being undertaken with $13,000 provided through the Tackling Tough Times Together program.

“This new link would mean Gippslanders could venture between Yinnar and Mirboo North on foot and by bike,” Mr Chester said.

“A project like this will ultimately attract avid walkers and cyclists from other areas to enjoy the natural beauty of this area.

“I am a big advocate for a healthy and active lifestyle. Investments in public infrastructure like a rail trail encourage people to get more active, more often and help to support local businesses and local jobs by drawing more people to our towns.”

Mr Chester said a route for the new eight-kilometre trail had been selected from three options.

“After extensive community consultation, the route has been decided: it mainly follows along the old railway line between Boolarra and Yinnar,” Mr Chester said.

“Over 700 responses were received with an overwhelming number favouring the chosen path.”

The Yinnar and District Community Association and the Boolarra Community Development group are working with local stakeholders on the master plan.

The plan will then be put forward for further community consultation.

A rail trail committee will need to be established to seek the funding needed to create the new trail and for its future management.

The Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) grants are administered by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal. The Australian Government has committed $15 million to the foundation to provide grants to not-for-profit and community groups under the TTTT program.

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