OPINION – Parks need to be connected

DEAR News Of The Area,

Patrick Walters’ recent letter about the proposed Great Koala National Park, ‘GKNP – Good or Bad for our Koalas?’, NOTA 28/7, seems to be more about bagging the National Parks Association and our National Parks and Wildlife Service than showing a genuine interest in securing the future of local koala populations.

A quick look at a basic map shows that while the area of retained and regenerated native forests in NSW ( State Forests, Crown lands and National Parks) may appear on a local level to be ‘huge’, in reality they comprise a relatively small vegetated area of our mostly arid island continent.

In terms of wildfire, history and common sense has shown that all our flammable forests (and pastoral and grazing lands) are vulnerable.

Despite almost a century of throwing pretty much every strategy and technology known to man at the fire problem, we have still not succeeded in bringing catastrophic wildfires under control, and with climate change things will likely get a whole lot worse.

Pointing the finger at national parks as historic originators of wildfires is statistically incorrect and ignores all the other fires which have started in other tenures, including hazard reduction burns gone wrong.

It’s about as unfair and unfortunate as blaming your next door neighbour whose burning house sets fire to your own.

The assumption that the number of existing national parks should have somehow automatically secured koala numbers is ingenuous.

The existing parks are fragmented and with changing climate landscape corridors are critical.

This is why a specific GKNP is being proposed for our area on the mid north coast where there are known stable natural koala populations in moist coastal and hinterland forests, which history and rainfall data has shown are hopefully a little more insulated from the impacts of increasing drought and wildfires.

In terms of public access, I guess it would be sensible to assume that you still will not be able to drive all over it in your extreme 4WD or trail bike, dump your hard waste when no one’s looking, let your dogs run loose, and light your campfires wherever you please; although I believe there are some plans for dedicated walking, camping, mountain bike and horse trails.

It is, after all, a proposal, and details are yet to be sorted, with our council sensibly voting to be proactive in the planning phase.

Dave WOOD,
Boambee East.

Leave a Reply