Great Burragorang Valley Walk

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Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby GregG » Fri 08 May, 2020 2:58 pm

Wollindilly Council have just put forward a proposal for a 316km walking route which will join Mittagong, Yerranderie, Katoomba, Warragamba, Oakdale and back along the Natti. Blue Mountains Council is also backing the proposal. It sounds like most if not all of this route will be on existing fire trails, some of which pass through prohibited areas of Warragamba catchment and also through declared wilderness areas, so there will be obstacles to be ironed out before the proposal becomes a reality. The hype coming out of both councils so far talks-up the number of jobs that will be created, economic benefit to local businesses, opportunities for group guided tours, showcasing the natural wonders of the area. OK, I know this is only in its preliminary phase but this proposal is already ringing alarm bells for me, mainly in regard to the extent of amenity construction that will occur and the kinds of "economic" development opportunities that might follow. In saying this I am particularly conscious of what has happened in Tasmania where wilderness experience has been turned into a commodity to be sold to those with with money to afford it ( a quick in/out, someone else carries all your gear, lobster and chardonnay for lunch, take a few selfies, tick the bucket list, be a legend in your own mind). But thats just my point of view, no doubt I'm looking at it all wrong.
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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby FatCanyoner » Fri 08 May, 2020 3:26 pm

Don't worry Greg, you're not alone with those concerns.

Beyond the exclusion zone (which is a pretty major obstacle, given any access by bushwalkers is deemed worthy of a massive fine), there's the broader issue of commercialisation of natural areas. Where once it was mining and logging that were the only threats, these days "ecotourism" is the best way to make a buck out of natural areas. There are many negative impacts, including the development of facilities in wilderness areas, but the big one for me is this user-pays model excludes many people form areas.

This area has been extremely popular with bushwalkers for the best part of a century (hence the success of the campaign to stop mining near Mt Colong, and the eventual creation of National Parks and then World Heritage listing. There is nothing stopping competent walkers from heading out there. The dull route proposed isn't much fun, but it does provide access to lots of wonderful areas. The Blue Breaks are an exceptional bushwalking area, and genuine wilderness. Best of all, it's completely free and you can explore to your hearts content.

The Tassie model, where people are churned through and pay a fortune for the privilege, should be resisted at all costs. Anyone with a map, compass, camping gear and a sense of adventure can already walk most of this route, plus much more exciting nearby areas. Bushwalkers have nothing to gain and everything to lose from this proposal.
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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby michael_p » Fri 08 May, 2020 6:57 pm

Link to media release: https://www.wollondilly.nsw.gov.au/home ... rn-sydney/ (PDF near the bottom of the page has the route map).
Best of luck getting approval to cross the Catchment Zones.
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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby Warin » Fri 08 May, 2020 7:41 pm

michael_p wrote:Link to media release: https://www.wollondilly.nsw.gov.au/home ... rn-sydney/ (PDF near the bottom of the page has the route map).
Best of luck getting approval to cross the Catchment Zones.


If they can mine under them they will be able to walk across them for money.
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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby clarence » Fri 08 May, 2020 9:10 pm

It's hardly an Overland Track along most of the proposed route.

Mostly dusty fire trails that bypass 90% of the most spectacular places.

From my experience, commercial groups can be accommodated well if managed effectively- but I can't see people rushing to pay big $ to walk the proposed route.

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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby ribuck » Fri 08 May, 2020 11:40 pm

I think this proposal is unlikely to make it out of the starting gate. There are much more obvious commercial experiences which could be provided more easily, e.g. a multi-day walk across the Blue Mountains.

But if this proposal comes to fruition, there is a risk. Structured wilderness "experiences" often come with undesirable consequences for bushwalkers - prohibitions on campfires, prohibitions on leaving the track in the vicinity, restriction to designated campsites, and (in time) restrictions on numbers and the need to pre-book before visiting the area.
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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby Warin » Tue 12 May, 2020 5:01 pm

Warin wrote:
michael_p wrote:Link to media release: https://www.wollondilly.nsw.gov.au/home ... rn-sydney/ (PDF near the bottom of the page has the route map).
Best of luck getting approval to cross the Catchment Zones.


If they can mine under them they will be able to walk across them for money.


Coal mine approved ... under under the Woronora dam catchment - drinking water.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/nsw-approve ... 82912/amp/
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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby rcaffin » Thu 14 May, 2020 9:23 pm

Sounds to me as though the Wollondilly Council are going stir-crazy from being locked up, To quote from the Wollondilly website:
“Critically, right now it can boost the local economy, create jobs and provide hope for businesses bearing the weight of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Of course, they want 4+ million dollars from the NSW gov't for it. (I know the web site says $3.4M, but who believes their estimates?) The commercial return would be negative imho. Boondoggle.

Most of the route is on dead-boring fire trails in heavy timber. You would see very little. 'They' would have to clear a track down the Nattai and up Beloon pass of course. Is that National Park or Water Board (or both)?
Yes, we have already walked a lot of the route over many decades, except for below the dam S to Mittagong. Fire trails, more fire trails.

Recently went from the Dunphy car park to Yerranderie via the Gangerang and the Kowmung. Good trip, until we hit the Scotts Main Range road. BORING (and hot). Had thought of going on to Beloon Pass again, but the rest of that route is just fire trails. Boring. So we came home over Cookem.

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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby ribuck » Fri 15 May, 2020 2:08 am

rcaffin wrote:Recently went from the Dunphy car park

The ghost of Myles Dunphy prefers that you call it the Dunphy Camp Site. Dunphy never owned a car, and no car park has been named after him :)
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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby GregG » Fri 15 May, 2020 12:13 pm

Yes, correct, there is a car park adjacent to Dunphy's Camp Site. More importantly, Miles Dunphy left us a great legacy and a heavy responsibility, it's up to all of us to be vigilant and do what we can to ensure that the legacy is not degraded by those with narrower vision than Miles had. I always hear alarm bells ringing when the merit of a development proposal is quantified solely in terms of jobs created and monetary benefit to the local economy, as though all things can be reduced down to their dollar value. Always be vigilant.
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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby wombeyan » Mon 17 Aug, 2020 11:57 pm

This proposal has some similarities to the GRW (Great River Walk) a long distance walk concept following the Wollondilly from its source to the mouth of the Hawkesbury, a 450km walk. This concept has been around since 1999 and recently NPWS and some councils have supported the opening of the downstream stage from Lower Portland to Spencer. of the GRW. The upper stages through the gorge at Canyonleigh are particularly interesting. Wollondilly Council would know about this plan but their route looks particularly impractical especially in Schedule 1 land which the GRW avoids.
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Re: Great Burragorang Valley Walk

Postby Hughmac » Sun 23 Aug, 2020 5:29 pm

Just had a quick look at the relevant maps, and I suspect that the only restricted areas it includes are the ones currently accessible. It actually shows a track over the plateau between Vineyard Flat and Little River, which would bypass the restricted area. The proposed track then appears to skirt the eastern boundary of the area.
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