South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated (SARTI), won the 2017 Special Recognition Award for a Group/Organization at the Annual Awards Evening of Walking SA last Thursday evening.
SARTI is a 100 per cent volunteer-run organisation with several local members who have built walking trails since 1999.
Over the years the group’s main project, the Lavender Federation Trail, has stretched from Murray Bridge to Clare, 320km away.
The trail connects the 1200km Heysen, 35km Riesling and 30km Rattler trails together. Many groups, individuals and walking clubs use the trail with many from other states walking the entire length over several weeks in one extended walk.
The Lavender Federation Trail, is now an established part of the SA walking trails network involving many thousands of hours of work by a small, dedicated group of volunteers.
In addition, the volunteers have built 98km worth of link and loop trails.
The concept of the main trail came into being after locals began to look for interesting walks in the hills, east of the Mt Lofty Ranges. To their surprise, they found a wealth of good walking country with high ridges, dramatic gorges, stately peaks and sweeping panoramas never explored by walkers before.
This resulted in a series of public meetings being held, the formation of SARTI and the establishment of a volunteer Management Board.
The aim of the SARTI Board was to build a trail from Murray Bridge to Clare and on the way, passing near small towns so they may enjoy economic benefits from users of the trail.
Originally called the Federation Trail to celebrate the centenary of in 2001, it had its introduction to the public in September 1999 when around 200 walkers traversed a section of the proposed trail from Murray Bridge to the Monarto Recreation Reserve. After the death of Terry Lavender, the first Chairman of SARTI and a strong driving force in the trail’s establishment, the trail was renamed the “Lavender Federation Trail” in 2004.