The Future of Australian Stock Routes: Let’s Travel!

Australian stock routes are an under-utilised asset

It wasn’t too long ago that the Stock Routes Coalition formed to declare them “Protected Corridors for Travelling Stock and Biodiversity. But Australia’s stock routes are still facing a number of challenges, including:

  • Increasing usage of road transport: As more people use cars and trucks to travel, stock routes are being neglected. This is leading to poor maintenance and environmental concerns.
  • Poor maintenance: Stock routes and their infrastructure are often poorly maintained, which can make them unsuitable for use when needed during emergency events (droughts, flooding, bushfire etc…).
  • Environmental concerns: Stock routes can have a negative impact on the environment if they are not managed properly. For example, they can lead to erosion and the spread of weeds.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in diversifying the purpose of stock routes for tourism. One such opportunity is using them as recreational trails, similar to rail trails.

Stock routes for eco-tourism

Rail trails are former railway lines that have been converted into multi-use trails for walking, cycling, and horseback riding. They have become popular recreation destinations in many parts of the world, and they offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Improved access to nature
  • Increased physical activity
  • Rural Economic development through “slow tourism”

The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is a great example of how a former transportation route can be repurposed for tourism and community benefit.

Slow Tourism and Slow Travel

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be difficult to find time to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. When it comes to travel, we’re often looking for something that’s missing from everyday life. Slowness is what’s missing. The quality of slow travel is hidden in the connections formed with places, cultures, the environment and one another, when we take the chance to slow down and witness it.

Stock routes have the potential to offer many of these benefits. They are often located in scenic areas and because they were developed for slow travel with livestock, they’re close to towns, facilities, and supplies. This makes them ideally suited for recreation and tourism, especially slow tourism.

However, there are a number of challenges to diversifying the use stock routes as recreational trails. These include:

  • Lack of funding
  • Lack of public knowledge and support
  • Environmental and other Stakeholder concerns

Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of ensuring the survival of Australian stock routes are significant. By investing in the development of stock routes as recreational trails, we can create new recreation opportunities, promote economic development, and protect our natural resources, assets, and heritage.

We can ensure their future by;

  • Improving their management
  • Raising awareness

The Azadi Far Ride is a great example of how stock routes can be used for recreation. The ride highlights the benefit of slow travel and promotes the history, importance, and future of stock routes. By encouraging people to travel and explore them, we guarantee their maintenance and availability for future generations.

So let’s get out there and use our stock routes! They’re called Traveling Stock Routes, so let’s travel!

…Plus, they’ll be pretty handy in an apocalypse. “If we don’t use it, we’ll lose it”

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