Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Horse riders can’t be trusted in Wilderness Areas

Yesterday the Minster for Environment and Heritage, Robyn Parker announced horse trails through wilderness areas in the Deua, Monga, Kosciuszko and Mummel Gulf National Parks for a two year trial.  Yet Minister Parker has apparently done nothing to properly investigate vandalism that the Colong Foundation for Wilderness alleges was caused by horse riders and her staff in the lead up to this trial.

Mr Keith Muir, director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness said “The riders who are responsible for this initiative can’t be trusted with precious wilderness as they have already damaged these areas with apparent impunity.  The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Environment Minister have no interest in stopping vandalism to these precious areas.”

“The management band aids proposed by NPWS won’t stop the chainsaws, axes, paint, erosion, pathogens and weeds that will follow horse riding in protected wilderness.  These appear to be illegal acts - clearing and marking trails in declared wilderness prior to approval of the horse riding trial,” Mr Muir said.

“These alleged illegal acts should have been more than enough to justify rejection of the entire trial process that was approved yesterday.  In 2013, Access For All (AFA) helped the NPWS to clear the Shoebridge Track, as well as the so-called Gregory Pack Track both in the Deua National Park near Moruya”, he said.

“Fallen trees have been sawn in half and granite bolders sprayed with orange paint in the Burra-Oulla Wilderness. Barrawang palms (Macrozamia communis) have been hacked apart with machetes,” he added.

“The Colong Foundation brought these alleged illegal acts to the attention of Environment Minister, the Hon Robyn Parker, and to the NPWS last year. Neither has responded appropriately to stop this vandalism.”

According to the Braidwood Times* ‘Access For All has worked closely with the local NPWS assisting in clearing and maintaining the tracks even though they have been closed to horse riders.

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