Walkers Lake is a freshwater lake, located adjacent to the old Avon Plains School, approximately 26 kilometres from Donald, 32 kilometres from St Arnaud and 40 kilometres from Minyip.
Walkers Lake and its surrounds are situated on crown land previously purposed for the management of wildlife and preservation of wildlife habitat. In 2014, the land was repurposed for public recreation. The reserve consists of approximately 80 hectares, an even balance of natural/built environment and the lake itself which, in turn, is around 2.5 to 3 metres deep with a volume of approximately 900 ML.
Historically, with its freshwater and rich food resources, Walkers Lake provided a favourable area to live and camp for the Dja Dja Wurrung People and for the peoples that lived or travelled through the area. The lake has since been a celebrated feature of the area, with a long history of recreational use; activities such as camping, fishing, yabbying, swimming, skiing and hunting, in season, are currently enjoyed by local, regional and visiting communities.
The Donald Angling Club has previously stocked the lake with golden perch and Fisheries Victoria has stocked it with Murray Cod. VRFish have stocked the lake with Golden Perch and there is also a population of English Perch (Redfin) found in the lake.
In 2013, following support from local community members, Northern Grampians Shire Council placed notices in the North Central News seeking community members interested in forming an interim advisory group to identify and progress ongoing support for the utilisation of Walkers Lake and the need for pipeline-delivered recreation water. The meeting was well attended, with community members, appointed advisory group members, councillors, agencies, and council staff present, and clear support for the immediate need to progress requesting a pipeline water supply to the lake. Furthermore, discussions were entered into regarding future management arrangements so as to ensure that any current water based recreational opportunities were progressed. During the meeting it was noted that the lake had been subjected to recreational activity for decades, when suitable water regimes were available, and that the current natural attributes of the lake had remained relatively intact.
The main management objective is to foster an environment where the natural and cultural values of Walkers Lake biodiversity are protected and enhanced and that opportunities to access and enjoy the lake are facilitated in a sustainable way. High priority management challenges affecting Walkers Lake include:
- The impact of camping and increased usage
- Loss of native flora and fauna
- Protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage sites
- Provision of designated public access
- Unauthorised access and activities impacting on environmental and cultural heritage values
- Unmanaged weeds and pests
- Sympathetically designed infrastructure
- Provision of public amenities
- Education and awareness of the way we treat the environment and how we all must work together to ensure a sustainable natural eco-system, a place that caters for all needs, including people, for the long-term