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Walkers at the ready

Wednesday, 15th April, 2009

If exploring the local area's rich natural and man-made features on foot appeals then the Barrier Rangers Bushwalking Club wants to hear from you now. The club is turning 40 and is celebrating with two weeks worth of bushwalks and other outdoor activities for existing and new members starting Saturday. Spokeswoman Margaret Lesjak said a total of 14 walks were planned around the district between April 18 to May 1, ranging from easy half-day walks to all-day treks.

She said the activities would appeal to people interested in seeing geological and man-made history in the area or who just enjoyed being outdoors on foot. "The first weekend is canoeing at Lake Wetherell, but your own canoe is not required," she said. The following Anzac day weekend is based at Penrose Park. There will be a choice of walks to suit all levels of fitness, from the self-guided Silverton Heritage Trail to medium walks about 10km and longer walks up to 20km.

"There'll be a campfire to yarn around Saturday night and we hope people will try out camp oven cooking and pancake tossing," Ms Lesjak said. The third Saturday, May 2, will see an afternoon walk take place from the Sundown Trail to the Sculptures for sunset. The agenda for the weekdays is just as full. There will be old Barrier Ranger favourites such as exploring the origins of BHP at Mt Gipps homesteads and a walk to Mt Robe, the highest point in the Barrier Ranges.

A camping trip to Mutawinji National Park is also planned, while other walks in the Barrier Ranges guarantee plenty of old mining sites. Ms Lesjak said for day walks people should wear suitable clothing, carry a daypack for their water, food, camera and sunscreen. "Don't forget a cup as there's usually billy tea at some point." Membership of the club, which was formed in 1969 following a public meeting organised by rockclimbing and walking enthusiasts, fluctuates between 20 and 50.

Local geologist and foundation member Wolf Leyh said about 30 per cent of members were locals, with the rest made of people who had moved to Broken Hill. He said over the years members also participated in cycling, caving, skiing and rockclimbing and have travelled interstate and even overseas for activities. "It's been successful because there's always been new blood coming into town and that's kept it going." For new walkers there is a $20 membership fee. For information and to register contact the Club's secretary, Ken Barnett, on 8087 1114.

The complete 40th anniversary program, registration form and other Barrier Ranger events are on the website http://www.bushwalking.org.au/~barrierrangers/index.html.

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