Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

NSW & ACT specific bushwalking discussion.
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NSW & ACT specific bushwalking discussion. Please avoid publishing details of access to sensitive areas with no tracks.

Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby north-north-west » Wed 20 May, 2015 5:04 pm

You build a network of huts of that type on any usable scale and they won't be unobtrusive. Nor will the impact of their upkeep - trucks or choppers bringing in supplies and personnel - even once you're past the construction phase. And it will only increase the pressure from the private sector for their own buildings. You're never going to overcome the groups who think that nothing matters more than money.

They're National Parks. Meant to protect and preserve the environment, not to facilitate its degradation through overuse, or to provide another pipeline to get money into someone's pockets. Lines have to be drawn somewhere and the standard to which I'm accustomed - small huts in traditional sites to preserve 'heritage' - is as far as I'm prepared to go. And even that's struggle.
Where there is sufficient pressure on an area - such the OT in Tassie - there is justification for infrastructure such as duckboarding, tent platforms and even huts, in order to minimise environmental damage.

My bias runs the other way. And I've seen the thin end of the wedge in operation too much to have any trust in politicians' promises that they'll keep everything clean and tidy and honest and ensure that there's no environmental damage. As if!
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby Suz » Sat 23 May, 2015 8:54 am

I suppose you're right and I think you have much more experience of it all than do I. But I still think NPs are under threat from other types of development and some sort of encouragement of the public into the parks could help. I know in NSW that the Gardens of Stone NP has been under threat from the possibility of a coal mine. Coal mine much worse than a track, huts and service roads in my mind. Maybe there could be a good walk where people walk campsite to campsite for days at a time, but walk through into towns to resupply every so often? Like the AT or Bibb or something. NSW has a lot of towns, so that's in its favour.

One day I'll get into this off track stuff like you do :)
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby DaveNoble » Sat 23 May, 2015 11:09 am

Suz wrote: I know in NSW that the Gardens of Stone NP has been under threat from the possibility of a coal mine.


The coal mining threat is not to the current Gardens of Stone National Park but rather to proposed extensions to it.

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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby Hallu » Tue 26 May, 2015 11:56 pm

I've lived for 3 years in Australia, have travelled to New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Spain, the US and I live in France. Those are what most people consider "world class" walking countries, and yet I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the Aussies are the most skilled at building great tracks. The duckboards, signage, lookout building, scenic tracks is what the Aussies do best. In the US tracks are too short, too often paved (which destroys the wildness), and sometimes badly signed. In France, they're too numerous so you get lost easily, and there's a mix of old and new signage. Sweden and Norway don't seem to do daywalks : their tracks are designed for multi day hut to hut walking, they don't seem to have day walks in mind, and "great walks" are like very remote and very long. As for New Zealand, they're nice but it can get quite muddy, and duckboards often aren't here. So despite what some of you think (that there are too many safety signs mainly) about Aussie walking tracks, in my opinion they are world class already. I haven't done as much walking in NSW as I have in Victoria or Tassie, but the walking tracks in Mutawintji, Morton, Kosciuszko or the Blue Mountains are fine. What I hate is seeing what the Overland Track is now : you need to book months in advance, pay a steep fee, and pray the weather is on your side when you walk it.

Unfortunately it looks like NSW wants to cash in on the idea that backpackers are the tourists that pay the most money to stay at their destination : renting car, paying for fuel, food and park costs, long stay. But when I see how global warming is impacting NSW forests, increasing bushfires frequency and intensity, I worry about a government who wants to get as many people as they can walking multi day treks in those forests. I even wonder whether they thought about emergency evacuation in case of bushfire along those future tracks.
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby RileyWayfarer » Tue 14 Jul, 2015 10:03 am

I really don't understand this mentality of 'creating' a great walk. We just don't have the dramatic scenery of other places. But then I don't choose the places to go bushwalking because it was on some list of top destinations, I just like being in the bush :D

I totally agree that NSW doesn't need huts. They were developed for a completely different climate. Up here in the north of the state even the worst of winter can be dealt with in a decent tent and sleeping bag.
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby MrFaulty » Thu 16 Jul, 2015 12:14 pm

One bite at a time - first deent tracks and a nice glass of red in a weatherproof 4 star hut, next maybe some roads, remove a few more trees and eventually it will be so civilised that no civilised person wants to go there. Personally I reckon there are enough easy access areas. Let's keep some true proper wilderness where, yes, potentially people may get lost and die, but these are the places where great experiaences occur and true character building opportunities (all IMO of course).
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby Nuts » Thu 16 Jul, 2015 12:22 pm

Bravo!
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Fri 02 Dec, 2016 7:39 am

Apologies for necro-ing an old thread, but is anyone aware if there's been any movement on this?

I recall a fair degree of fanfare when the Environment Minister announced this in 2014 (5 year plan yada yada yada... the media release had me conjuring up cringeworthy thoughts of suspended duckboarding along strongleg ridge, but I digress...) but haven't seen a lot of evidence that it's resulted in anything tangible. Admittedly I haven't looked too hard :)

Has the proposal died or are we all just staying quiet in the hope that it goes away? (I did hope something good would come out of it - not a full scale great walks development but at least some basic track and signage improvements)
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby kjbeath » Fri 02 Dec, 2016 4:53 pm

For anything to happen they would need to change the plans of management, and call for comment so it seems that nothing is happening.

Queensland set up a series of Great Walks a few years ago, but with only tent based camping, and they haven't generated the use to justify the investment. One problem is transport, usually no public transport and often requiring two vehicles. Building huts would make it even more difficult to justify.
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby Chev » Mon 05 Dec, 2016 11:55 am

kjbeath wrote:Queensland set up a series of Great Walks a few years ago, but with only tent based camping, and they haven't generated the use to justify the investment. One problem is transport, usually no public transport and often requiring two vehicles. Building huts would make it even more difficult to justify.


kjbeath
Do you know if there's any documentation of estimated vs actual use for the Queensland great walks?
This would be good information to feed into the current Falls Creek to Mount Hotham proposal, which is also being spruiked on the basis of heroically optimistic visitor numbers.
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby kjbeath » Mon 05 Dec, 2016 5:52 pm

Chev wrote:Do you know if there's any documentation of estimated vs actual use for the Queensland great walks?
This would be good information to feed into the current Falls Creek to Mount Hotham proposal, which is also being spruiked on the basis of heroically optimistic visitor numbers.


No. Queensland Parks would know the proportion of campsites used, but unless it was an official request i would be surprised if they would supply them.

All I know is from my experience and what I was told by others. Early July Fraser Island was fairly empty other than our group of 6. We encountered 2 couples and a solo walker. Some of the people I was with had been to the walk inland from Townsville and there were no other people and it was fairly overgrown. I think Mackay sees some but not a lot. Carnarvon may see a few more, but I'm not certain how interesting some of the walking is. Hinchinbrook is still busy, even now that transport is more difficult. I expect that the walks near Brisbane get better use.

My impression is that these were done for political reasons. It was a way of creating jobs that would hopefully lead to greater tourism and more jobs, at the same time as some conservation efforts were seen as limiting jobs.

There has been some comments in NZ lately about their Great Walks, which aren't making money, even with hut fees and the use of free or low-paid labour as hut wardens.
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby rcaffin » Thu 08 Dec, 2016 5:28 pm

In the US tracks are too short, too often paved (which destroys the wildness), and sometimes badly signed. In France, they're too numerous so you get lost easily, and there's a mix of old and new signage.
Aahh ... dear me. Total ignorance being displayed here.

USA: try AT, CDT, PCT, just for starters. They are LONG, VERY long, going right across America.
France: arguably the world leaders in creating well sign-posted GRs (Grande Routes or great walks). Most local walks are also well-sign-posted.
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Of course you can get lost anywhere in the world if you try. So?
Cheers
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 15 Dec, 2016 11:28 pm

Do Not Put Privatized structures or enterprises within National Parks. Esp. wilderness areas in the KNP.
The wilderness should remain wild!!! .
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby ribuck » Fri 16 Dec, 2016 5:42 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:Do Not Put Privatized structures or enterprises within National Parks. Esp. wilderness areas in the KNP.
The wilderness should remain wild!!! .

Privatized and government-run initiatives are both anti-wilderness. The bush doesn't know or care who runs a hut, erects a toilet, installs signage and builds boardwalks.
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Re: Push for NSW to develop world-class walking tracks

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Fri 16 Dec, 2016 5:59 pm

Yes, Govt. and Privately built structures take the wild out of the wilderness.
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