$7 million is being spent to upgrade fire trails at Cessnock in a bid to protect the local community from future bushfires.
The upgrades are part of a six month project being led by NSW National Parks and Wildlife to upgrade 76 kilometres of trails in the Werakata National Park.
Works involve key partnerships with Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, Wonnarua Elders, the Rural Fire Service, Crown Lands, private land holders and Cessnock City Council.
All up 24 fire trails will be upgraded by NPWS with funding support from Crown Lands and the Rural Fire Service.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said the important upgrades include track surfaces, drainage, and new turning and passing bays.
“Bushfire preparation requires cooperation between local government, local brigades, government agencies and land managers which is vital for the protection of our communities,” Ms Cooke said.
The Werakatas cover more than 6,000 hectares of Cessnock bushland and contain strategic fire trails prioritised by the Lower Hunter Bush Fire Management Committee (BFMC) under the Fire Access and Fire Trail (FAFT) network program.
“I particularly want to thank the Wonnarua Aboriginal community representatives for their knowledge and support to ensure Aboriginal cultural items will be protected as part of the project,” said Environment Minister James Griffin said.
Trails and park areas will close for periods from March while the six-month project takes place
Updates on closures can be found online at Werakata State Conservation Area alerts.