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Tag Archives | NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)

Sydney Bush Walkers

A Week of Walks, Kosciuszko National Park, Christmas/New Year 2021/22, Sydney Bush Walkers, Report by John Kennett, Photos by John Pozniak

Between Christmas and New Year 2021/22 myself and thirty other members of Sydney Bush Walkers (SBW) travelled, walked and gathered on the trails and in the ski-lodges of beautiful Kosciuszko National Park.

Every day we embarked on a different walk and were rewarded with the sight of brilliant blue skies, beautiful weather and voluminous wildflowers. Among the fantastic locations we visited were the Iconic Trails, Mt Twynham, Ramshead, Dead Horse Gap, Guthega, Mt Anton and Mt Tate.

To cap off a successful week our visit concluded with 2022 New Year’s Eve celebrations which were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Our March Club: Sydney Bush Walkers

Our club of the month, Sydney Bush Walkers is one of Australia’s largest and oldest Bushwalking Clubs. SBW was founded in 1927 and has a membership of around 850.

The club offers challenging day and multi-day walks including extended 12 day (or more) trips.  Canyoning is a very popular club activity in the warmer months.

SBW volunteer trip leaders are experienced walkers who aim to maximise members enjoyment of the outdoors while also ensuring the safety of all walkers. While SBW leaders foster group co-operation participants are also expected to be self-sufficient to ensure that all members cope with walk conditions and challenges that arise.

While the Sydney Bushies provide a range of bush experiences, they also offer a great social network of like minded, outdoorsy types. A SBW membership provides a unique opportunity for bush lovers to develop skills, increase confidence and meet new like-minded friends!

The club holds monthly information nights for people who are considering joining (book here). For more information visit the SBW website or Facebook Page.

 

 

Southern Highlands Bushwalkers

Mount Jellore, Nattai National Park, Southern Highlands Bushwalkers

A recent walk that Southern Highlands Bushwalkers managed to slot between various lockdowns was a hike up Mt Jellore in Nattai National Park. It had been couple of years since the Club had been on the Mount Jellore Walk as it has only recently re-opened after the bushfires.

There is a short walk to a rocky outcrop where you get the first view of the mountain, then a steep drop to a creek, followed by a steep walk up to the fire trail that leads to the base of Mt Jellore. From there it is a zig zag track up to the summit. There is now a lot of waist high regrowth. The trig at the top had survived the fires and from the peak you can see Sydney on a clear day. We took the alternative route back to the start which also involved a drop down to a creek followed by a climb back out.

Nattai NP offers beautiful wilderness and rugged walking experiences. The park is conveniently located close to several towns and features spectacular scenery and landscapes including sandstone cliffs, rainforests and woodlands. Walks in Nattai NP include Couridjah Corridor, Mount Jellore, Starlight’s or Nattai River.

Our January Club: Southern Highlands Bushwalkers

Southern Highlands Bushwalkers is an outdoor activities club which develops friendships through exploring natural wilderness and National Parks. The Club endeavours to plan activities to suit the needs of both individuals and families. Club activities range from short day walks to overnight backpacking hikes and car camp out weekends. However, other special activities may also be included in the Club’s programme.

The Club was formed in 1990 as the Highland Adventurers then underwent a name change to become the Southern Highlands Bushwalkers (Inc) in 1994. Since inception, membership has grown to about 60 and the members hail from as far afield as Palm Beach in the north to Goulburn in the south.

Southern Highlands Bushwalkers holds activities in the Mittagong, Bowral, Berrima area of the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. This area has a great diversity of flora and fauna and access to many national parks and forested areas. Most of the local area is undulating to steep, easy walks are very few and a reasonable standard of fitness is required.

The worn Sydney sandstone of the area offers some many interesting and beautiful windblown features with views from ridges into valleys, creeks and gullies. These offer glimpses of lush cool rain forest, eroded sculptured landscapes and stunning views down the valleys formed by the rivers such as the Nattai.

The club offers mostly day walks from moderately easy to strenuous with a range of overnight backpacks or car camps and the occasional trips to more distant destinations. Off track walking may be through thick and difficult vegetation which requires experience and good navigation skills. The Club also does coastal walks, mainly in the Illawarra as well as some on Sydney Harbour.

 

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Walking in Declared Wilderness Areas – Is There a Party Limit?

Walking in Declared Wilderness Areas – Is There a Party Limit?

Yes, there is. Its 8.

Many members will be aware that in NSW there are places declared as Wilderness Areas under the Wilderness Act 1987. Wilderness areas are large, natural and mostly intact areas of land that form part of our national park system. When an area is declared wilderness, it is protected under the Act and must be managed to protect its wilderness values with a minimum of human interference. Many wilderness areas are remote and inaccessible to vehicles and access is usually only by foot.

You can find out where Wilderness Areas are either by accessing up to date mapping, the Plan of Management for the national park concerned or by contacting your local national park office. Plans of Management can be found here.

What about party limits in national park areas that are not declared wilderness? Well, that can vary. For parks like the Blue Mountains and Kosciuszko, walking groups bigger than 20 require prior approval from NPWS. In the Budawangs it is even lower. There is a limit of 12 for overnight groups and the recommended limit for day walks is 12. For other parks the Plan of Management doesn’t specify a limit.

In any case when planning a walk always consider party size in relation to the Bushwalkers Code.

Again, if in doubt consult the relevant Plan of Management or contact your local national park office.

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.

Volunteering for Nature

Summer of 2019-2020 has been characterised by extreme weather in particular catastrophic bushfires and more recently rain and flooding events. Volunteers are needed to help local wildlife and bushland to recover from fires, floods and other climate change related events. Volunteering benefits both your physical and mental health and enables you to contribute positively to your community. To point you in the right direction below is a list of current nature conservation volunteering opportunities.

Regrow, Rewild – National Parks Association of NSW

The National Parks Association of NSW is looking for volunteers for future projects to assist in the recovery of national parks, communities and native species impacted by bushfires. Express your interest here.

Bushcare and Landcare

Bushcare and Landcare Volunteering is another way that you can contribute to the recovery of parks and other bushlands. Bushcare groups are often part of a local Council or National Parks & Wildlife Service program and may be provided with help such as supervision, tools and training. Landcare groups are mostly in rural areas, however there are also many in metropolitan areas.

Birdlife Discovery Centre Sydney

The Birdlife Discovery Centre at Homebush Bay in Sydney is looking for volunteers who enjoy bird watching, conservation and promoting awareness of bird conservation. For more information on this and other bird conservation volunteering opportunities click here or contact Debbie Harris at daisyproctor@yahoo.co.uk

Conservation Volunteers Australia

Conservation Volunteers Australia provides a range of opportunities for people with a passion for nature and conservation to get involved both locally and across Australia. Bushfire recovery projects are a current focus for conservation volunteers.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has volunteering opportunities available. If you would like to contribute to the protection of the environment and meet other like-minded people click on this link to explore volunteering positions at NPWS.

iNaturalist Environment Recovery Project

The Environment Recovery Project is asking participants to record and upload their observations in areas of burnt bushland. Findings will be used to assist understanding of how species recover from the 2019‑2020 bushfire season.

Other nature volunteering opportunities

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has a range of volunteering opportunities in conservation, animal care, gardens and national parks. Click here for more information and to apply.

Seek Volunteer

The Seek Volunteer database is one of the largest in Australia and allows you to explore volunteer opportunities according to location and area of interest.

Birdata – Birdlife Australia

Birdata is a national bird monitoring program run by Birdlife Australia that you can contribute to. Visit the birdata website for information on how to get involved.

BirdLife Photography: Exciting opportunities exist for you to join this special interest group’s committee! Click here for more information.

National Office Volunteer Opportunities: BirdLife Australia E-Store pick and packer – email store@birdlife.org.au for further information

Birds on Farms (NSW): A regular surveying program is being established now. If you are interested in being a volunteer birdwatcher, click here for more information.

Re-aging the temperate woodlands of Central West NSW: Activities include habitat restoration, bird monitoring/watching, and engagement with schools and the general community. Click here for more information.

The Beach-nesting Birds program is always looking for new volunteers as our birds of focus are widely spread across an immense coastline and the threats facing them are as voluminous as the ocean. To read more about the many volunteer roles available click here. Training and mentoring can be provided!

For more information on Beach-nesting Birds volunteering, including where volunteers are most needed click here.

World Migratory Bird Day is coming up on Saturday May 9th! More information can be found by clicking here.

2020 dates for the National Migratory Shorebird program’s summer and winter shorebird counts are:

Summer Count: November 1st – February 29th (ideal date is January 15th)

Winter Count: May 15th – August 15th (ideal date is July 1st)

Horse riding in wilderness areas

There is still opportunity for walkers to provide feedback on the proposed changes after trials of horse riding between 2014 and 2016 in parks managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The amendments have been proposed to allow horse riding in wilderness areas, which includes 30km of the Nine Mile and Ingeegoodbee management trails in the Pilot Wilderness Area in Kosciuszko National Park, accessed via the Barry Way. The trial was from April 2014 to April 2016.

The public exhibition of these amendments has been available for comment since 22 June and will close 7 August 2018. You can also view the Horse Riding in Wilderness Trial Monitoring Program Final Report.

We urge Bushwalkers to make comment concerning the amendments particularly if you have walked in this area, your submission needs to be received by 7 August.

As per the guidelines:

Write clearly and be specific about the issues that are of concern to you.
Note which part or section of the amendment your comments relate to.
Give reasoning in support of your points – this helps avoid misinterpretation and makes it easier for us consider your ideas.
If you agree or support a particular part or idea in the amendment, please tell us.
If you disagree, please tell us specifically what you disagree with and why you disagree.
If you can, suggest solutions or alternatives to managing the issue.

 

Also note:

The proposed amendments can be viewed at https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/consult OR

  • OEH Customer Centre (Level 14, 59–61 Goulburn St, Sydney)
  • NPWS Narooma Office (corner Graham and Burrawang Streets, Narooma, NSW)
  • Braidwood Library (Park Lane, Braidwood, NSW)
  • Snowy Region NPWS Visitor Centre (46 Kosciuszko Road, Jindabyne, NSW)
  • Tumut NPWS Visitor Information Centre (5 Adelong Road, Tumut, NSW)
  • Cooma Visitor Centre (119 Sharp Street, Cooma, NSW)
  • Tumbarumba Visitor Information Centre (10 Bridge Street, Tumbarumba, NSW)
  • NPWS Walcha Office (188W North Street, Walcha, NSW)
  • NPWS Gloucester Office (59 Church Street, Gloucester, NSW)
  • Walcha Shire Council (2W Hamilton Street, Walcha, NSW)
  • Walcha Visitor Information Centre (29W Fitzroy Street, Walcha, NSW)

You can provide your submission in one of the following ways:

  1. use the online submission form at https://engage.environment.nsw.gov.au/consult
  2. email your submission to parkplanning@environment.nsw.gov.au
  3. post your submission Manager Planning Evaluation and Assessment, PO Box 95, Parramatta NSW 2124. 

 

Your submission will be provided to a number of statutory advisory bodies (including the relevant regional advisory committee and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council). Your comments on the draft plan amendment may include ‘personal information’. OEH complies with the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, which regulates the collection, storage, access, amendment, use and disclosure of personal information. See OEH privacy webpage for details. Information that in some way identifies you may be gathered when you use our website or send us correspondence.

If an application to access information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 requests access to your submission, your views about release will be sought if you have indicated that you object to your submission being made public.