Back in time – Part 3
In 2002, the way forward from Mt Beevor to Tungkillo was far from settled. The then owner of property at Mt Beevor had contacted SARTI with a number of objections for the use of road reserves past the summit. These included a request to provide proof of the road reserve and an environmental impact study among seven other issues. In time, the reason for these demands became clear when it was learnt that the property was for sale. After the property was sold, the new owner was extremely cooperative and the trail route from the summit proceeded.
A further obstacle surfaced around the same time when the Lavender Federation Trail was named in State Parliament.
It was claimed by the opposition that landowners hadn’t been consulted (incorrect). Also mentioned in Hansard was the SA Farmers Federation were afraid that walkers would spread disease between properties including Broomrape (nearest was 5 km from the trail), claimed that walkers were “not permitted on road reserves for which a farmer holds an exclusive permit.” (incorrect) amongst many other concerns.
Chairman, Terry Lavender, with letters to politicians and press releases backed up by proof of the incorrect statements made in Parliament was able to put to rest the accusations.
It was a very busy year in 2002.
The first proposal for a Rocky Gully Loop Trail was put to Forestry SA, the land managing authority at this time. The proposal did not proceed until in 2018, 16 years later, the Cypress Hill Trail, a longer version of the original SARTI proposal was completed as a duel use walking/mountain bike trail that has recorded 9804 walkers & MTB riders in the past 8 months.
Also, in 2002, the first issue of the “Footsteps” newsletter was produced. (In 2023 the newsletter has been renamed Footsteps & Pedals to reflect the Lavender Cycling Trail and number of cyclists accessing trails SARTI is involved in.)
2002 also saw the release of an eco-tourism study by six Flinders University students that was presented to Murray Bridge Council staff and Murraylands tourist operators.
The following year, SARTI Chairman Terry Lavender was honoured at a celebration for the 25th year anniversary of the completion of the Heysen trail. A plaque was unveiled in his honour.
October 2003, Tungkillo was reached but things were not looking good for the future. Securing funding was difficult, just eight volunteers were on the SARTI Board attempting to do all the work necessary.
A massive blow occurred on January 4th 2004 with the passing of SARTI Chairman Terry Lavender OAM. Terry, together with several other respected walkers, was the main driving force behind the creation of a trail from Murray Bridge to Clare. His knowledge gained in the building of the Heysen Trail was the template used by SARTI. It was proposed to rename the Federation Trail, with the permission of Ann Lavender, the Lavender Federation Trail.
On the 24th May 2004, the next stage was opened at the Tungkillo Hall and renamed the Lavender Federation Trail.
By July, ill health meant the SARTI Board was down to six but the word went out to walking clubs that urgent assistance was required or it would be very likely the Lavender Federation Trail would end at Tungkillo.
Within a short time, the SARTI Board consisted of ten, a grant application for $15,000 to the Office for Recreation and Sport to build the LFT to Springton had been successful and everything was looking positive.