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Famers are concerned a rail trail planned for northern NSW will create, not only privacy issues, but problems with farm biosecurity.
A rail trail between Tamworth and Manilla has been proposed as a potential economic and tourism boost.
However many residents who live along the track say they do not want it to go ahead because it literally runs through their back yards.
Upper Manilla's Emily Bowman fell in love with rail trails in New Zealand, and the people who use them.
"The types of people who use them, generally speaking, put on their runners or get on their bikes and ride 10 to 30 kilometres. I have actually heard rail trail riders or walkers described as wallets on wheels — the sorts of people you would welcome into your town," she said.
Ms Bowman is leading the charge for a rail trail between Tamworth and Manilla.
"The project has only been in existence a few months. We're reaching out to the community to see what sort of support there is," she said.
"Rail trails are incredible public pathways and they have been proven in Australia and other parts of the world to bring incredible economic benefits to small communities, and a real injection of spending."
The rail corridor in question travelling north between Tamworth and Manilla was abandoned more than 30 years ago. Some of the line has been removed by local land holders, but there are large areas still in place which, under the plan could be fenced off, the rail tracks removed and a public pathway created.
For four generations David Maunder's family has lived on a property 16km from Manilla. His home is nestled among trees about one kilometre from the road, but just 50 metres from the disused rail track.
His concerns are more than just the thought of people walking or cycling past and peering in his windows. The line cuts through his property and a fenced rail trail would impact his access to some areas.
"Biosecurity is one of the biggest issues for our property, and our right to farm," he said.
Mr Maunder said he had spoken to more than 40 people who have properties along the rail line — sheep and cattle farmers, graziers, and chicken farmers — all with serious concerns about the spread of rubbish or disease if there is unfettered access to their land.
"There are some quite high value businesses along here and they are extremely worried. They create a lot more income for the area that a rail trail is going to do," he said.
Alistair Yencken also has concerns — not about the idea of a rail trail, but its path. The neighbours have come up with an alternative offer to take to the table.
"We've got the stock route that runs from Attunga to Manilla; it's an old white box remnant vegetation area, which is quite rare," he said.
"There's plenty of flora and fauna, and if you had a winding path through those magnificent trees it would make the most beautiful cycleway."
This is not the only rail trail planned for northern NSW, and communities are in two minds about the idea.
There is strong opposition to another plan in New England, near Guyra.
Opponents there do not want the rail line removed, holding onto a hope trains may one day return.
But further north in Glen Innes a seven-member advisory group has been formed to look at assessing the feasibility and public support for developing several rail trails along the former Great Northern Railway route.
The first stage is between Black Mountain and Ben Lomond.
"NSW at this stage does not have rail trails on public land," Glen Innes Mayor Steve Toms said.
"So landowners will have certain questions and have questions in terms of public access through what is rail corridor, and that's something we need to build support for and try and work through the issues as such."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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