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Archive | BNSW Committee news

A few words from the President

As we reach the end of 2020, I am sure everyone is taking some time to reflect on the Year We Didn’t Expect! Understatement of the year! Having said that, despite everything the world has had to deal with, bushwalkers in NSW have been relatively fortunate. After the false start to the bushwalking year, and several months of restricted activities, bushwalking has taken off again. I hear that many, if not all, our clubs have been active – maybe making up for lost time, back on the bush tracks of our wonderful bushwalking State. My own club, for example, is up to its former frenetic form, and I am hard pressed to keep up with all that the members are doing. Fortunately, I am my club’s newsletter editor, so I receive reports on everything. It’s a great way to keep up to date and contribute back to the club. This is my roundabout way to encourage everyone to think about contributing to your club. I do appreciate that club committee work is not everyone’s cup of tea, but don’t forget that all our clubs (and indeed Bushwalking NSW itself) relies on volunteers. If meetings and treasury and secretarial stuff do not appeal to you, then you might find other roles – newsletter editor, social secretary, events, walks, kayaking, coordinator, etc. etc. Just check in with your club and see how you can contribute to your local bushwalking community.

This is also my roundabout way of sending out a great big Thank You to all the volunteers to run clubs, events, manage club web sites, edit newsletters, lobby, etc. etc. Our own office relies on volunteers also, and I am sure you will join me in thanking them for their quite self-less behind-the-scene work. How did this newsletter come together? Volunteer …

Many of you will now be aware that Bushwalking NSW has finally refreshed its Constitution. Yes, we have a 21st century constitution. After a bit of hard work, it is updated to better reflect the way Bushwalking NSW works, to better represent the demographics of our member clubs, and to ensure we meet legal and other statutory requirements. I send out another huge big Thank You, this time to everyone who has, over the last couple of years, engaged the Bushwalking NSW Management Committee with reviews, suggestions, arguments one way or another. It has made our job much easier to hear what the members have to say. Many thanks, also, the members of the Management Committee who have worked hard and long at finding ways to accommodate all the requirements for the new Constitution. And finally, another Thank You to everyone who attended the Special Meeting to finalise and approve the new Constitution.

I expect, however, that many of you at the Special Meeting were more interested in hearing from our guest speaker, Hugh Flowers, on how to raise $7.5m to develop a long-distance walking track. His insights into the patience and perseverance required to develop such a thing was impressive. His talk was another reminder that bush walking facilities don’t just appear out of nowhere. They require vision, hard work and effort. Hugh, your talk was an inspiration to us as Bushwalking NSW looks at its future goals. Thank You, Hugh.

Finally, might I indulge in few personal thoughts on how we present bushwalking to the broader public? Visual messaging is extremely powerful, so what we show the public about bushwalking is important if we, as I expect all clubs seeks to do, wish to maintain and grow our membership. I have just returned from a trip which included hiking in the Mt Kaputar National Park. This has to be one of NSW’s great secrets! An amazing landscape, interesting walks, high country, fascinating geology, and wonderful views. And so well managed by the local NPWS guys – well done you. But why were there not the crowds I encountered almost next door (100 km away) in the equally impressive Warrumbungles? Me thinking out loud … could it be because the latter are advertised with images of grand landscapes, huge skies, impressive peaks, expansive views? And the former by a photo of one single cliff (albeit a rather impressive one), no images of the much higher and in some ways more spectacular mountains? It got me thinking about the ways we communicate with the public about national parks, bushwalking, the great outdoors. The images we choose to share could draw people in or perhaps be less encouraging. Back to Mt Kaputar and the Warrumbungles: do I want to drive five hundred miles to explore an amazing mountain range or to visit one cliff …?  Just a thought.

And with that, it, of course remains for me to wish everyone all the best for the festive season. I do hope that you are able to celebrate whichever version you choose, and that part of your celebration can be in the great outdoors. Looking forward to a wonderful 2021!

Cheers, Bill Boyd, President, Bushwalking NSW

A few words from the President

October, and we are well into spring. I thought I’d open my few words with a pithy quote about spring, something that might enthuse bushwalkers everywhere. How about Robin Williams’ declaration that “Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s Party”? Let’s get out into the bush and party! But then I discovered Margaret Atwood telling us that “in the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”. I suspect little did she think she was addressing a bunch of bushwalkers who, after a good hike probably do smell a wee bit like dirt. So there it is, get out there and party, and whatever you do, come home smelling of the great outdoors.

And talking of the great outdoors, I hear that clubs across NSW are getting out and about more these days. The winter hibernation – a generous interpretation of the Covid lockdowns – has passed. We in NSW have been fortunate to be able to roam more widely and in larger numbers than our bushwalking counterparts in Victoria. Do spare them a thought. And so it is that we are able, in this State, to reexplore our own back yards. Perhaps you might be doing a little of what I have been doing recently, exploring parts of the State I haven’t visited for many years. Before the Queensland border was closed (again!), I decided to take the long route to Canberra from the north coast, avoiding Greater Sydney so that I could get across the border for a bit of grandparent duty without having to declare I’d been in the dreaded hotspot. The result, a fine bit of hiking in the Warrumbungles, and a reminder of what the western districts can offer us. Return trips to the New England Tableland, Mount Kaputar, and the Pilliga are in the offing, and no doubt several other choice destinations will delight. Thank you, by the way, to the bushwalking clubs whose web sites I have perused to help my planning.

But we all have our own backyards. And this year, our backyards are all looking pretty good. Everywhere I have been there is fine spring green growth, the flowers are popping out, and in my own sub-tropical rainforest clad mountains we are getting views! Yes, views! Bushwalking in rainforest is rewarded by glimpses rather than views, and often precious few of these. As the burnt forest recovers, we are rewarded with more expansive views – although hardly expansive in a Snow Mountain sense – and on recent walks we have all been able to understand the lie of the land better.

Talking of flowers, who has had an opportunity to take a walk or two along our wonderful coast recently? The coastal heath is looking good these days, and for the twitchers amongst us, the birds are out. One of the groups I was out with recently was determinedly warned off by a couple of kites guarding their chicks. And if you are lucky, you will still be able to spot a few the whales. They are still migrating south. On the same walk, progress was delayed considerably as a couple of whales put on the most impressive display of tail and fin slapping, rolling and generally having, dare I say it, a whale of a time. And all within easy view from the shore.

So, let’s get out there and party! Happy bushwalking everyone. Bill

Your say on our focus

Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey in January, 2017! It was a biggie!

To begin sharing the results and our actions with you, here’s the ordered response to the question:

What should be the current focus of Bushwalking NSW?

  1. Safety, rescue, risk management
  2. Tracks and access (defined walks)
  3. Conservation (natural places to walk in)
  4. Public promotion of bushwalking
  5. Training
  6. Services to clubs

Interestingly, these options were presented in quite a different order in the survey:

  1. Services to clubs
  2. Public promotion of bushwalking
  3. Conservation
  4. Tracks and access
  5. Safety, rescue, risk management
  6. Training

So it was a good question to ask!

If you would like to send us your thoughts, you can still respond to our survey here.

This information will ultimately go into our strategic plan, however we have already responded with work in these areas:

  • more work on our Risk Management Guidelines
  • met with NPWS and members about tracks and walk promotion
  • visited the historic, Kedumba Valley hut with NPWS and talked about tracks and access (one member specifically asked for huts)
  • delivered an excellent minimal impact bushwalking presentation
  • and more!

While we could never do everything that can be imagined, members also made the following suggestions which we could may be able to  on if we find the resources: “Collate an inventory of walks”

Also, one members suggested we “monitor insurance suitability each year” which we do with the help of Bushwalking Australia.

Our Community Liaison Officer, Alexandra Davidson has been working tirelessly to analyse your results so we will be continuing to bring you more details of the results.