As local tourism operators still feel the impact from the devastating bushfires in November, there is some good news for the sector.
The Cowarra State Forest will soon be home to a new tourism precinct.
The announcement was made on Monday, January 20 by Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams with the state government contributing $2.1 million to the project.
Mrs Williams said local tourism operators were excited by the project.
"Providing access to the precinct will open up opportunities for new nature-based tourism attractions such as tree -top adventure climbs, trail running and mountain bike riding adventures," she said.
"In terms of wildlife recovery there has been discussion with the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital with koala rehabilitation on site in mind."
Mrs Williams said the first step would be delivering the infrastructure needed to create the nature-based tourism precinct, including sealed road access, water and electricity connections, car parking and perimeter fencing.
Senior manager of stewardship at Forestry Corporation Kathy Lyons said it was "exciting to have an opportunity to showcase our beautiful forests and sustainable forest management".
"If you think of Sealy Lookout (in the Orara East State Forest) they have an amazing Aboriginal cafe, a tree top adventure park."
Project Director of Hello Koalas Margret Meagher said she was hoping to include her organisation's famous koala sculptures on the site.
'Gulla', painted by Wauchope TAFE Aboriginal art students, has already been selected as the ambassador for the project.
"For us it is a dream come true," Ms Meagher said.
Chairperson of the Bunyah Local Aboriginal Land Council Jamie Donovan said it was an opportunity to "incorporate our Aboriginal practices and history into this area".
"The first step will be bringing in the cultural burning aspect to help do some maintenance in the area and provide a safe precinct for the rest of the project," he said.
"With the disasters that have been taking place we are really interested in re-engaging some traditional burning practices, sharing that knowledge with local forestry guys, national parks and local RFS teams."
Work on the project is expected to begin in autumn this year.
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