WORKS have finally been completed on Gunnedah's Porcupine Reserve, giving locals and travellers a spectacular place to go on a bush walk and take in some classic Australian scenery.
The reserve was undergoing a facelift for much of the latter half of 2020, with work on the Bindea bush tracks being among the main focuses.
It has much to offer, with the Avards Lookout alone overseeing the Liverpool Plains and the Namoi and Mooki River valleys.
The project was due to a partnership between Gunnedah Shire Council (GSC) and Gunnedah Urban Landcare Group with additional funding from the Commonwealth Government's 'Drought Communities Program'.
Not only will the upgrades be beneficial to those using the track, it was helpful to those who helped complete the work too, given it was conducted by GSC's Farmer Army.
While the group was originally set up as a drought relief initiative for farmers, it was later expanded to accommodate income earners financially impacted by COVID-19.
They have done a great job too, with the improvements including the installation of bollards to stop vehicles, repairs and maintenance of walking tracks, new signage and environmental weed control.
"The tracks were in poor condition and somewhat unsafe and we had been aware of this for some time," said Gunnedah Urban Landcare Group Chairperson, Mark Kesby.
"Vehicles and mountain bikes had done damage to the tracks and bushland, which we know is a habitat for local koalas, birdlife, small marsupials and reptiles."
Completion took a little longer than expected, but it was for good reason with the Farmer Army being kept busy by what was a bumper crop season for most.
"It is rewarding to see the trackwork gradually reach completion," said Mr Kesby.
"It has been a long, hard slog made more so with only two or three program participants involved on most days.
"The members of Gunnedah Urban Landcare Group are proud to have taken a lead role on this project that will be of great social and health benefit to locals and provide an added drawcard for tourists.
"We encourage our fellow community members to help us preserve the new tracks by using them for walking or jogging only."
While you won't find any actual porcupines at the reserve - as the name refers to 'porcupine grass' - you may spot some koalas from the Bindea bush tracks.
Just make sure you don't get too close to that grass, as the name Bindea is actually a Kamilaroi word which means 'place where shrubs with needles grow'.