THE reopening of Stoney Creek Road between Wootton Way and The Grandis, the tallest tree in New South Wales, was celebrated at an official opening ceremony last weekend.
The six-kilometre section of gravel road, an important tourist link, had been closed for three years due to flood damaged bridges.
A large crowd of community members gathered at The Grandis Picnic Area in Myall Lakes National Park for the celebrations, which were organised by the Wootton Community Network.
President Jim O’Connor said having the road open, providing direct access to The Grandis from Wootton Way, was a boost to local tourism.
“The Grandis is a good tourist draw, people know about it and they want to see it,” he said.
“The road repairs were part of the Wootton Strategic Plan, and one of the priorities is getting as many local attractions available as possible.”
Mr O’Connor said people from all over the world come through the valley to see The Grandis, Railway Walk and Winery.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Myall Lakes MP Stephen Bromhead praised the Wootton community for their active work in the local area.
“Everything that is done as a community to encourage tourism, and the more places there are to see, benefits all of us,” he said.
“Every tourist in the area will spend some money somewhere in the local businesses, and that means jobs and opportunities in our area.”
Mr Bromhead also acknowledged National Parks and Wildlife Service who funded the bridge repairs, ensuring continued access for both the community and tourists.
MidCoast Council Local Representative Committee member Len Roberts, on behalf of Administrator John Turner, said the Grandis is a star attraction, not only in the Great Lakes area, but also in NSW.
“It is a big tourist drawcard that we should embrace, not hide away,” Mr Roberts.
“The reopening of the road is a great boon for the community and tourism, and something well worth celebrating.”
The Grandis, a 400-year old flooded gum, towers at a height of more than 76 metres above the ground.
By Daniel SAHYOUN