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Tag Archives | Blue Mountains

Great West Walk extended from Penrith to Katoomba

In great news for bushwalkers – the Great West Walk has been extended from Penrith to Katoomba!

The Walking Volunteers have loaded the walking route onto their Sydney Walking Tracks map and Great West Walk. If you have downloaded either of these maps onto your PS, smartphone or tablet they will be automatically updated to include an additional 150 kilometres of walking routes including the 87 kilometres of the main route.

The additional routes encompass a wide variety of walking conditions from easy station-to-station village walks to the more demanding Woodford-Hazelbrook section. The loops and links include diversions to historical sites like the 1892 Cutting, the Tunnel Creek Track and the iconic St Helena Track/Oaks Fire Trail Hike which is only suitable for experienced bushwalkers.

Cutting on the Top Road

… a funicular railway down to the 1913 rail route along Glenbrook Gorge

The St Helena Ridge Track runs through a narrow defiles …

Pool of Siloam is still …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you would expect, the views in the Upper Blue Mountains are stunning but some of the lesser-known routes in the Lower Mountains and Mid-Mountains are just as astonishing. The main route runs past old inns, gatekeepers’ cottages, mountain cottages, intriguing ruins and a haunting cave site; along old railway cuttings and Cox’s original road; visits spectacular natural sites like Kings Cave, Leuralla Amphitheatre Sublime Point and Echo Point; passes man-made memorials at Macquarie’s Springwood Camp, Caleys Repulse, Honour Avenue, Coronation Park, and the haunting beauty of the Gully Walk.

Frederica Falls on Empire Pass

Western end of Mt Solitary from Prince Henry Cliff Walk below Sublime Point Reserve

… you look at it

 

The Walking Volunteers want to thank the Gundungurra ILUA Committee, Blue Mountains National Park and Blue Mountains City Council for allowing them to put this extension on their maps and providing vital information on temporary track closures between Gordon Falls and Echo Point, which are all marked on the maps with alternate routes. As these tracks are re-opened the Walking Volunteers will change their maps and these will be automatically updated.

Gardens of Stone Protected!

Australia’s longest conservation campaign delivers: Gardens of Stone Protected – New Gardens of Stone Conservation Area announced.

A quick background to the Gardens of Stone announcement:
  • The Australian conservation movement called for the protection of the Gardens of Stone region in 1932
  • In 1932, Colong Foundation for Wilderness founder, Myles Dunphy, included the Gardens of Stone in his ‘Greater Blue Mountains National Park Proposal’
  • In 1985, former Colong Foundation Director, Dr. Haydn Washington, published the Gardens of Stone Reserve Proposal
  • In 1994 the Liberal Environment Minister, Chris Hartcher, reserved the Gardens of Stone National Park (stage 1) after a strategic park proposal from the Colong Foundation for Wilderness while independents held balance of power in the NSW Legislative Assembly
  • In 2005, the Gardens of Stone Alliance formed, consisting of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, Colong Foundation for Wilderness and the Lithgow Environment Group to coordinate a community campaign to protect the Gardens of Stone based on a state conservation area proposal by the Colong Foundation
  • In 2019, a comprehensive visitor management plan, Destination Pagoda, was released by the Gardens of Stone Alliance to showcase the economic benefits of the region
  • In 2021, Centennial Coal withdrew their proposal for the Angus Place Colliery after persistent campaigning from the Gardens of Stone Alliance

Keith Muir, former Colong Foundation for Wilderness Executive Director, has said “After what must be the longest protected area campaign in history, the Colong Foundation welcomes the new Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area of over 30,000 hectares which positions Lithgow as the gateway to the Gardens of Stone region.

“The new reserve ranks in the top 20 of most floristically diverse of all NSW State Forests, National Parks and Reserves, just behind Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, but outranks them all on geodiversity.

“The funding provided will permit the establishment of a world-class tourism and conservation reserve protecting and presenting an astounding array of heritage values. It will improve the protection of internationally significant pagoda landscapes and remaining rare upland swamps. The area includes 84 threatened plant and animal species, such as the Giant Dragonfly, and 16 rare and threatened communities.

“The untapped tourism value of Lithgow’s Gardens of Stone backyard lies in the diversity and rarity of its scenery and native flora, and in its Aboriginal cultural heritage. These values will be protected and enjoyed by thousands of people.

“Lithgow will become the new Katoomba which was once a coal mining town, having successfully transitioned to a tourism based economy in the 1920s. It is testament to the persistent community campaign that this announcement has happened today.”

Blue Mountains Conservation Society

Various Bushwalks, Blue Mountains and surrounds, Words by Doug Nicholls, Blue Mountains Conservation Society.
A typical lunch break, sitting under an overhang enjoying the view. This particular walk was on the Undercliff Track Wentworth Falls which is often done as a circuit with the Charles Darwin Walk and the Conservation Hut.
The Grand Canyon Circuit is a very popular family walk. If you only have time for one walk, this one is a good choice for a classic Blue Mountains experience.
Dargan Arch

Dargan Arch in the upper Blue Mountains is an amazing natural sandstone arch in a gorge and an easy walk from carparking. To get to the bottom and under the Arch requires a little more effort but is well worth it.

Our November Club: Blue Mountains Conservation Society

The Blue Mountains Conservation Society (BMCS) has 330 bushwalking members who enjoy walking in amazing locations in the Blue Mountains and surroundings.

Blue Mountains Conservation Society has weekly bushwalks to suit a range of abilities held on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.  The Club’s walk details can be found on the BMCS website where the activity subsection will invite new walkers. BMCS also has a monthly Plant Study Group.

October 2021 was special as the Blue Mountains Conservation Society celebrated its 60th Birthday.

Floods Ignite Raising Warragamba Dam Wall Debate

In late March 2021 an extreme rain event on the Australian East Coast caused serious flooding which endangered people and property in many areas including the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley on Sydney’s outskirts. The Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley flood highlighted the dangers of urban development in flood-prone areas given the high likelihood of more climate change-induced flood events in future.

The rain event and resulting floods have intensified debate on the controversial proposed 14 metre raising of Warragamba Dam Wall.  Many experts and conservationists contend that the most extreme floods are unlikely to be stopped by raising Warragamba Dam wall. Flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley comes from other river/creek sources in addition to water flowing over Warragamba Dam wall. In addition the geography of the Hawkesbury-Nepean area restricts the amount of water that can flow out of the Valley.

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness states that the raised dam wall proposal is being driven by pressure from developers.  As part of the Warragamba Dam wall raising proposal, Infrastructure NSW plans to house an additional 134,000 people on the Hawkesbury-Nepean floodplain in coming decades. The Foundation states that people in new and existing residential developments in the Valley will not be safe from future extreme floods even if the Warragamba Dam wall were to be raised.

The Foundation states that the proposed dam wall raising will lead to flood water inundation of World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Parks and wilderness streams and desecration of rare and ancient natural heritage and Indigenous cultural sites.

Adding weight to arguments against the raised dam wall proposal, the Australian Insurance Industry recently withdrew their support for the Proposal due to concerns over the probable loss of important cultural sites and natural habitat. The Industry suggested that the State Government should investigate alternative measures to mitigate flood risk in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley.

Alternative flood mitigation actions available to the State Government include improving floodplain evacuation routes such as the Castlereagh Connection, pre-emptive dam-water release water and relocating people in the most flood-prone areas. NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro recently stated that alternatives to the dam wall raising need to be considered including lower water levels and building desalination plants for water supply.

 

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