Northern Grampians Shire Councillors are united in their support of efforts to turn the vision of the Grampians Peaks Trail Project into a reality, sooner rather than later.
The Grampians Peaks Trail is a 13 day/12 night walk currently under development to provide visitors with a direct, world class experience of the peaks and panoramic views of the Grampians National Park.
The 144 kilometre track will connect some of the Grampians' most spectacular peaks, from Mount Zero in the north to Mount Abrupt in the south.
Council's chief executive officer, Justine Linley said the trail would wind through vegetation varying from low lying heathlands to high elevation woodlands.
"On completion, the Grampians Peaks Trail will become a drawcard for local and international experience seekers, in a similar way to the renowned Overland Track in Tasmania and the Milford Track in New Zealand," she said.
Council has resolved to write to the Chief Executive of Parks Victoria and the Minister for Environment for a commitment for state government funding towards the completion of the trail.
The walk is expected to generate 32,000 visitor nights in 2015, increasing to more than 80,000 visitor nights by 2025 when all segments of the trail are operational.
The total number of walkers using the Grampians Peaks Trail is expected to increase from 13,800 people in 2015 to more than 34,000 people by 2025.
Ms Linley said in 2015 the trail will generate an estimated $2.55 million, increasing to $6.39 million by 2025.
"The major economic benefit is the increased visitor spending and employment flowing directly from people who have come to walk the Grampians Peaks Northern Grampians Shire Council Trail, as well as increased visitation to the Grampians in general," Ms Linley said.
"An important benefit is the capital expenditure and construction employment associated with building the Grampians Peaks Trail that will support 45 direct and 70 indirect full time jobs, helping to generate employment in the region."
The project will cost an estimated $26 million and will be implemented in three stages.
Stage 1A is currently nearing completion with funding allocated by the State Government (Rosea Loop). The full stage focuses on the central segment around Halls Gap. Stages two and three of the trail will be in both the northern and southern sections of the park.
Cr Karen Hyslop said the ability of the attraction to appeal to a diverse range of people from across the world is what makes it so important.
"This is such an exciting project, a long trail and hike that caters for a wide range of experience with various walk options, levels of difficulty, accommodation types and is suitable for day walkers and school groups," she said.
Cr Jason Hosemans said the benefits of the exciting project speak for themselves.
"The Grampians Peaks Trail will be a world-class, long distance walking experience, showcasing the beauty and majesty of Gariwerd's natural and cultural landscapes," he said.
"Visitors undertaking the 144 kilometre, multi-day walk will experience one of the great icon walks of Australia, representing a 'must do' walking experience with an estimated visitation of 23,000 people per year by 2020."
Cr Murray Emerson said he hoped the Grampians Peaks Trail would become another attraction that puts the Northern Grampians Shire on the international stage.
"We already have an international foot race (Stawell Gift) and many other wonderful achievements, so I think we can be very proud of some of the things that are happening in our shire," he said.