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Hopetoun Lake has been a long standing place for locals and holiday makers alike to enjoy recreational activities from water skiing to picnicking. In recent times, these activities have not been allowed during the Corona Virus period, but there are still things the lake offers us which can be undertaken at this time.

Previous to the social distancing rules, a Hopetoun walking group had advocated with Rural Northwest Health to produce a walking trail with Council. Although its launch was postponed, Hopetoun’s new distance marked walking trail starting and finishing outside of Gateway Beet, is a one of the towns latest features. The Orange and Blue trails guide walkers at 200m intervals through the town (3.5km) or around the lake (4.2km) past local artworks and historical sites.

Rural Northwest Health Promotion Officer, Nick Wakeling said, “the distance markers are a great way to develop an environment which encourages people to engage in physical activity.”

Robyn Bellinger has been a member of the waling group since it begun. “We were brought together initially by the Y-Change initiative, but the consistent routine of walking together and the social aspect kept us together. The distance markers allow us to set goals and see where we are up to. Some of us have different ailments so it is especially important to keep physically active or those ailments can worsen.”

With Coronavirus threatening our health, it has been highlighted that being physically active is an essential activity. Mr Wakeling said “without the ability to be active, all of us will suffer in our physical and mental health. Our community statistics say that less than half of us (46%) do enough exercise to benefit our health. That is, 30 minutes a day for adults and 60 minutes for children of moderate physical activity.”

“This isn’t just the responsibility of individuals,” Mr Wakeling explained. “Council and community groups have a responsibility to build both the physical and social environment which allows people to do this. The Hopetoun Walking Group should be proud of pushing this project through.”

Brochures detailing the trails, art and historical features can be found throughout the town, while a launch event will occur when public gathering are allowed in the future.

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