Negotiations are underway to allow ‘no fewer’ than six private hut-based walks under the Tasmanian government’s wilderness tourism expression of interest program.
In 2016 a new tourism plan for northern Tasmania has launched, which raised the possibility of there being new developments adjacent to the Cradle Mountain National Park. Its key intention was to greatly increase visitors to the north of the state.
Part of the detail of the plan included a ‘cable car’/ gondola which would run from just outside the northern boundary of the park into the park at Dove Lake. The cornerstone of the proposal was the development of new tourist centre, which is where the gondola would start from.
This week saw construction start on the $21.8 million ‘gateway precinct’ (ie new tourist centre) and Dove Lake re-development. According to Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin, the start of construction was “a significant day of epic proportion”.
A group of investors are proposing a track to a remote wilderness lake at the base of Federation Peak in Tasmania’s South-West (Check here for our previous report).
They have developed a consortium called the Geeves Effect, and are pushing for a 2.5 km track extension to ‘provide walkers with views of Lake Geeves’. They say that ‘the bushwalk could rival Cradle Mountain and Three Capes Tracks as a tourism magnet’.
Since our last report on this proposal, more information has come to light. This comes from the Tasmanian National Parks Association.
In a worrying move, the ALP in Tasmania has announced that it will allocate $30 million if they win the next state election towards the cable car which is planned for the Cradle Mountain National Park in Tasmania.
The idea for a cable car was raised in a Master Plan for the Cradle Valley section of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park, which was developed by the Cradle Coast Authority.
The cable car would connect the Cradle Mountain visitor centre to Dove Lake. Construction of the cable car would require the Commonwealth Government to chip in another $30 million.
A group of investors are proposing a track to a remote wilderness lake at the base of Federation Peak in Tasmania’s South-West.
They have developed a consortium called the Geeves Effect, and are pushing for a 2.5 km track extension to ‘provide walkers with views of Lake Geeves’.
According to reports in The Mercury, they say that ‘the bushwalk could rival Cradle Mountain and Three Capes Tracks as a tourism magnet’.
The Bob Brown Foundation opposes what it calls an ‘invasion of the citadel of Tasmania’s wilderness by private enterprise using public money’, warning that it would open the door to private development.
Widespread wildfires in early 2016 caused huge damage across large areas of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, including significant sections of vegetation which is not fire adapted.
Inquiries into the fires were held during 2016, with a senate inquiry recommending the creation of specialist remote area fire fighting capacity.
The question of how much climate change influenced the extent and severity of the fires has been debated at some length, in the media and the inquiry processes.
This article by Emilie Gramenz from the ABC is a further update on the outcome of the process and the need for further research into the links between fire and climate change. A key message from researchers is that “climate change would likely make future fires more intense and more frequent”.
The report from the Senate Inquiry into the terrible fires that happened in Tasmania last summer has now been released.
The inquiry looked at ‘responses to, and lessons learnt from, the January and February 2016 bushfires in remote Tasmanian wilderness’. The committee was chaired by Greens Senator Nick McKim.
Probably the key recommendation in the report is the proposal that the state and federal governments should investigate the establishment of a national remote area firefighting team. Coalition committee members dissented, saying informal and formal relationships already exist between the state and federal governments and that the Army is also brought in when needed. However the slow pace at which a number of remote area fires were tackled indicates that there was a shortage of fire fighting resources able to be deployed quickly into remote areas. The devastation of areas such as around Lake McKenzie on the Central Plateau was compounded by the delay in getting fire fighting units into the area.
The Coalition MPs on the committee also disagreed with another call in the inquiry report for Australia to report annually to the UNESCO Wilderness World Heritage committee about the state of conservation within the Tasmanian WWHA.
Other issues raised in the report include the need to ensure adequate funding of research into how climate change will influence fires in the world heritage area. For instance, the committee recommends that the Australian Government recognise the need to enhance protection and conservation efforts in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area by allocating increased funding:
- to the Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania, for appropriate management activities and resources; and
- for research projects aimed at providing qualitative and quantitative data specific to climate-related and ecological threats to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (such as dry lightning strike). It appears that the frequency of dry lightning strikes has already increased in recent decades.
Mountain Journal recently reported on the new master plan that was being developed to improve the ‘tourism experience’ at the north end of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. Yes, I’m a grumpy old bushwalker who goes to Cradle Valley because it’s the access point for miles of terrain, rocky mountains, alpine moors and fantastic walking, rather than because I expect a ‘world class tourism experience’ in a national park.
But I do understand that many people expect first class facilities and that’s where the sheer numbers of visitors are. With Cradle Valley visitation declining, it was deemed that something had to be done, and so we have the release of the new master plan for the area, developed by the Cradle Coast Authority, which hopes to increase visitor numbers by 60,000 to 80,000 a year.
An announcement about a new tourism plan for northern Tasmania has raised the possibility of there being new developments adjacent to the Cradle Mountain National Park.
The Examiner reports that:
AN ‘‘EDGY’’ plan to upgrade Cradle Mountain tourist facilities aims to have a similar effect on tourism numbers in Northern Tasmania as the launch of the Spirit of Tasmania.
The master plan, formed over six months and spearheaded by the Cradle Coast Authority, is expected to be launched late this week after stakeholders are briefed.