Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Cochran to cash in on Kosciuszko’s Wilderness

“Peter Cochran, the ex-National Member for Monaro, whose family runs a private commercial company ‘Cochran Horse Treks’ from Yaouk near Adaminaby and Khancoban on the west of the Kosciuszko National Park, wants access to wilderness. The Cochran family business would benefit from any trial that throws open alpine wilderness to horse riding,” Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness revealed.

“According to Mr Cochran, the independent horse riding trial will be a track that traverses through 500 kilometres of Kosciuszko National Park’s famed wilderness areas. Some trial!,” said Mr Muir (see the ABC news link below).

“Remember, it was Peter Cochran who forced the former Premier Mr John Fahey to withdraw his 1993 Wilderness Christmas present. Mr Cochran is helping his political mates out again. This time he’s helping Environment Minister Robyn Parker to identify a small and manageable wilderness trial for horse riding, Mr Muir said.

“Ms Parker’s or is it Mr Cochran’s proposed trial greatly underestimates the adverse impacts of horse riding on the ecological systems of the Park,” he said.

“This 500km wilderness horse riding trial would spread Orange Hawkeweed, a very serious weed, throughout NSW’s only alpine national park. Prevention is the most cost-effective form of weed control and so it is vital to keep uninfested areas free of hawkweed. Minute barbs on the seeds enable them to stick to hair, fur, riding equipment and be carried long distances”, said Mr Muir.

“Horses are not only a serious weed carriers, they are mobile fertiliser plants, each depositing 17-26 kilograms of dung and 5-7 litres of urine a day”, Mr Muir said. 

“Horse manure and urine provides nutrients, moisture and protection for seed germination, as well as insulation from frosts, so that the natural environment ends up favouring weed establishment”, said Mr Muir.

“This proposed trial would be a politically inept and irreversible experiment. It would cause serious environmental degradation of one of the most important National Parks in Australia. Only an Environment Minister with rocks in her head would agree to it. For your own sake, as well as for the wilderness, just don’t do it, Ms Parker”, Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)

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