National Parks wait on winter snows before embarking on clearing

Councillor Russell Turner on one of the closed tracks. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0704jkwalks5
Councillor Russell Turner on one of the closed tracks. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0704jkwalks5

THE National Parks and Wildlife Service hopes to have parts of Mount Canobolas open by late summer, in time for the Great Volcanic Mountain Challenge.

Councillor Russell Turner asked in July for urgent action on the walking trails, concerned the challenge would have to be cancelled a second year, but on Tuesday night, he heard there had not been a response.

Mayor Reg Kidd urged the council needed to write again, saying the situation was ludicrous.

“Now’s the ideal time to fix up some of those walking trails after the fire, but they’re all closed down – the one to Hopetoun Falls has been closed for a number of years and nothing’s been done,” he said.

“There’s graffiti appearing now on rocks and in the picnic areas – this is a major tourist feature up there.”

He said the state of the trails, plus closure of Mount Canobolas Road when snow hit, had affected the Mountain Tea House. 

An Office of Environment and Heritage spokeswoman said the National Parks and Wildlife Service was committed to opening the park as soon as possible.

“The Mount Canobolas SCA has trees weakened by the fire,” she said. 

“For safety reasons the park has been closed over winter to allow for the winter snow and strong winds to dislodge any damaged trees to make safe the area for the construction phase of the repairs.”

The spokeswoman said work had already begun to repair the Nature Track, the Summit track and Towac Way, starting with clearing and removing dangerous trees, with more substantial construction work to follow.

“The plan is to repair the trails, signs and infrastructure that support the Great Volcanic Mountain Challenge as a priority,” she said.

“Following those repairs, NPWS will work on the high visitation walking tracks including Federal Falls and the Walls walking tracks.”

She said subject to favourable weather conditions, NPWS aimed to have facilities opened by late summer, in time challenge.

The repairs to the tracks will occur separately to the plan of management currently under review.  

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