With an eye to the long view the ACT Equestrian Association and the local Bicentennial National Trail Coordinator are looking at options for linking the BNT in the north west of Canberra to Stromlo Forest Park and connections from there to the south. To this end there have been several meetings and site visits over the last few years.
At the moment the ACT Government is seeking input on the design of a public park to be created between the Molonglo River and the southern edge of the new suburb of Whitlam, the infrastructure for which is currently being laid out in the area bounded by Coppins Crossing Road and William Hovell Drive.
The Environment Protection & Sustainable Development Directorate is seeking input to this park design at the Your Say website at https://yoursay.act.gov.au/act-parks/molonglo-nature-space. While the park itself will be a pretty busy, horse unfriendly, play space the draft design does include a notional horse trail connecting the existing fire trails on either side of the River bank. You can see these orange trails in the design drawing. Parks & Conservation have put some energy over the last few years into finding a reliable and safe natural crossing of the Molonglo in this area but it has become obvious that the extreme variability of the River and its very rocky nature just doesn’t make that possible. There will need to be a man made structure to get horses across the River.
At the same time, further south, plans are in train to construct a brand new bridge over the Molonglo River at Coppins Crossing to connect the John Gorton Parkway to William Hovell Drive. The old Coppins Crossing Bridge will be retained as a non-vehicular crossing available to horse riders wanting to cross the River. While, at the moment it is a bridge to nowhere the plans for the Molonglo River valley include an equestrian connection from MacGregor via Whitlam and Denman Prospect to the back gate of Stromlo Forest Park on Uriarra Road.
While neither of these developments will happen over night they are a great start to some interesting future riding destinations.