Prospectors get green light to search in national parks

The Age has reported that the state government has approved for new national parks. The following is an excert from an article by Tom Arup.

Five parts of the Alpine National Park, one area of the Lake Eildon National Park and two sections of the Lerderderg State Park will now be opened to recreational gold hunters who are often known as prospectors or fossickers.

The use of metal detectors and hand tools will be allowed, but the government has ruled out the use of more elaborate motorised devices sometimes used by prospectors.

A review of the environmental and cultural impact of the decision will occur after one year.

Phil Ingamells from the Victorian National Parks Association said national parks were there for nature, not for digging up.

prospecting”The government acknowledges that prospecting damages natural areas, so it is disappointing that the activity will be allowed in new areas in national parks,” he said.

The decision to open up new areas follows a Victorian Environmental Assessment Council investigation – commissioned by the government – of nine national and state parks to determine which would be most appropriate to allow prospectors access to.

While the council recommended the new areas adopted by the government on Tuesday, it warned in its final report there was clear evidence the practice could damage the natural values of national parks, especially rivers and creeks. It also said prospecting did not sit well with the purposes of national and states parks.

Read the full article by Tom Arup here.

Read background info here.