THE 52km extension of the Fraser Island Great Walk moves closer to reality this week as a result of a third working bee to define the route.
The project is being advanced by the National Parks Association of Queensland and the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation and being built entirely by volunteers.
Project co-ordinator, FIDO's John Sinclair said Stage 1 of the actual track project had been greatly assisted by a $25,000 Friends of Parks Grant that had enabled the restoration of former forestry buildings near Lake Allom to serve as a base for work on the track and eventually to serve as one of four shelters along this track extension.
Mr Sinclair said volunteers who had come from as far away as Atherton to help had so far contributed almost 800 hours on-ground work on the building renovation, surveying for the optimum route and track construction.
"We have been overwhelmed by volunteers who are keen to participate not only on this Fraser Island project but on other projects including helping to control weeds and monitoring projects," he said.
"During 2014 volunteers working on bush regeneration and track projects will contribute more than 2000 hours of on-ground work in a co-operative effort to help preserve the natural integrity of Fraser Island," Mr Sinclair said.
This week Mr Sinclair celebrates his 75th birthday with three of his sons finalising and marking out the track that runs from Arch Cliffs on the Hervey Bay side of the island to Lake Garawongera where it links with the existing Great Walk.
The Great Walk extension is known as the George Haddock Track to honour a volunteer who contributed much to Fraser Island and other Queensland national parks over more than 50 years of voluntary effort.
Mr Sinclair said because of the attractiveness of the features encountered and Fraser Island's sub-tropical climate and conditions conducive to walking at any time of the year, he confidently expected the George Haddock Track to become Australia's most popular long distance walk when the infrastructure was completed in October.