The Otago Central Rail Trail will be extended and Queenstown and Alexandra will be linked if plans for two new tracks go ahead.
A trail through the Kawarau Gorge from the Nevis Bluff to Bannockburn is proposed, along with another from Bannockburn to Clyde.
The Central Lakes Trust has given $140,000 toward feasibility studies on the tracks, which would be called the Cromwell Gorge Trail and the Kawarau Gorge Trail.
The studies would investigate which side of Lake Dunstan the Cromwell Gorge Trail should be built on, along with route options and construction and maintenance costs. Initial feedback from landowners would also be gathered.
Combined with the existing trails from Queenstown to the Nevis Bluff and from Clyde to Alexandra, the proposed tracks would provide a link for cyclists and walkers between Queenstown and Alexandra.
Kawarau Gorge Trails Charitable Trust trustee Glen Christiansen has no doubt that, given the amount of work also being done on building tracks around Wanaka, the region's larger towns would one day be linked by trails.
The Kawarau Gorge Trail may also pass by historic gold mining sites.
There were buildings and sluicings in the Nevis area which, at this stage, could not easily be seen from public places, he said.
How they would be preserved would be part of the feasibility study.
"It will be very interesting to see what is over there - we haven't had a decent look."
The funding for the trails studies was part of the $282,000 the Central Lakes Trust granted to nine applicants during its latest funding round.
The Central Lakes Regional Youth Trust received $60,000 and the Cromwell Youth Worker Trust was granted $41,000 toward the organisations' operating costs. In total, the region's five youth trusts would receive $295,000 during the 2013-14 year.
A sculpture at Luggate also received a boost. The Rotary Club of Wanaka was granted $4500 toward the artwork, which would be in memory of the late John Reid, who founded Upper Clutha Transport and was behind many public acts of kindness and generosity. The sculpture would consist of a restored wooden cart and two concrete horses.
The trust's other beneficiaries during this month's funding round were the Otago Alzheimer's Society ($14,000), the Central Otago Friendship Network ($10,750), the Central and Southern Autism Support Group ($3500) and the southern region Stroke Foundation ($4000).
The trust gave out more than $5 million during the year ending March 31, 2013.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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