Local residents reconnect with nature during pandemic

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MAKING THE MOST OF THEIR DAY … Friends Joy Peters, Greg Newman, Brian Peters and Lorraine Newman take an energetic walk around Victoria Lake. Shepparton has wonderful bushland walks and cycling tracks so you can enjoy the fresh air. Photo: Steve Hutcheson

Although we’ve been made to stay home and aren’t able to catch up with friends over coffee due to COVID-19, we are still encouraged to get outside and exercise. Exercising has many great physical and mental health benefits and can also be a way to socialise with others while still adhering to the social distancing rules.

In recent weeks, RiverConnect and partners have recorded an impressive rise in the number of residents enjoying the local bushland adjoining Shepparton and Mooroopna. Trail counters placed over the past three years along the Yanha Gurtji Shared Path Network indicate that daily visits in the last couple of weeks are averaging around 80 to 100 people per path.

The Yanha Gurtji Shared Path Network runs along the Goulburn and Broken Rivers and is a great way for locals to enjoy the beautiful nature Greater Shepparton has on offer whilst they walk their dogs, ride a bike or just getting some exercise in. ‘Yanha Gurtji’ means ‘come walk with me friend’ in Yorta Yorta language, and it seems fitting that with the current pandemic, it’s now a place where people are crossing paths and saying hello to those they recognise.

RiverConnect project officer, Meg Pethybridge said, “It’s great to see so many people out and enjoying the bushland we have on offer here. I went for a bike ride recently and recorded at least twice as many people than usual over the two hours I was out.”

Greater Shepparton City Council manager environment, Greg McKenzie said, “It’s great to see so many people enjoying our local bushland and heading out for exercise while social distancing.

“Connecting with nature is important for our health and regular walking or cycling in the bushland can help residents to feel more socially connected while we are required to be physically separated.

“This is the perfect opportunity for everyone to develop or reconnect with their love and respect for the beautiful natural environment in Greater Shepparton,” Mr McKenzie said.

 

Residents seeking a map of all our beautiful nature paths can visit www.visitshepparton.com.au. We also wish to remind those using the paths to continue to abide by the government regulations regarding COVID-19 and to also respect native wildlife by disposing of any rubbish correctly or taking it home with you.