Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail officially opening, and the attraction continues to bring visitors into the region, also providing a positive activity for locals to take advantage of.
Businesses in Rosewood have nothing but positive things to say about the rail trail one year on, saying that it has provided a noticeable benefit to the small town of around 200 people.
Serena Matto took over the Rosewood General Store roughly eight months ago and said the store has welcomed a financial boost since the trail opened.
“We’ve sort of gone from $200, $300 days during the week to $1000 days, even when school’s on,” she said.
“We’ve been a hell of a lot busier since it’s opened.”
Ms Matto said that the trail was like a “saving grace” for Rosewood following the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires and the Covid-19 pandemic, helping the town – and the greater region – survive after facing successive blows.
These sentiments were echoed by Jenny Murfett at Gone Barney Nursery and Cafe, who said the trail is continuing to bring in business after one year.
“It’s just been a massive positive to the area … and it’s been ongoing, it’s still ongoing,” she said.
“We only just live in a small little remote town, so any kind of new business or outside money is always going to be good for us.”
Ms Murfett said Gone Barney was busy before the trail opened but it has only grown busier, bringing in more money and allowing them to bring on more staff.
Ms Murfett said the trail has been positive for tourism across the region, adding an extra element to encourage people to visit.
“It’s bringing all kind of people, you know, you’ve got young families as well as older people who’ve retired; it’s a great mix of people who are coming,” she said.
Last week, Snowy Valleys Council received approval for a grant of $270,000 to go towards a trail’s masterplan. This project would see the development of a comprehensive masterplan, linking towns and villages across the LGA to “create a cohesive approach to harnessing the opportunities for outdoor recreation, agritourism and art.”
Calls are continuing in Tumut and Batlow for the towns to get their own rail trail, and Rosewood businesses agree they would like to see that project developed.
“I think it would be good for Batlow in particular, because the amount of people it brings to the area is unbelievable,” Ms Murfett said.
“[Tourists] would do our rail trail and then do that rail trail, and they’re staying in the area longer, and everyone would benefit.”
Both business owners acknowledge the pushback from farmers and landholders who oppose the project, but believe the change in heart witnessed in Rosewood could also be seen in other parts of the council area.
Ms Matto said that “at least 90 per cent” of those in Rosewood and Tumba that were initially against the rail trail have now changed their mind.
“We had one main family that were knocking the rail trail and they were protesting the loudest who have completely done a 180 and want to capitalise on the trail itself now,” she said.
The positive effects of the rail trail have been felt just as much in Tumbarumba, with a number of businesses capitalising on it. Tumba Bikes and Blooms rebranded to offer hire e-bikes which has proven very popular, and a new business named Ride Tumba was opened just last month by Peter Marshall, offering bike sales, service, hire, equipment, walking gear, clothing and more.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the rail trail being opened, a Family Fun Day is being held this Saturday, April 10 from 8.30am. Riders, walkers, scooters and runners will leave from the Figures Street site and head towards Rosewood together.
Food, coffee vans and information stalls will be set up at Rosewood all day at the end of the rail trail, and a market day will be held at Gone Barney.
Looking to the rail trail’s future, locals hope to see the hype continuing – and growing – as the years progress.