THE GARDENS OF STONE STAGE TWO RESERVE PROPOSAL encompassing 39,000 hectares is located on the western edge of the Blue Mountains and would mainly consists of state conservation areas if reserved. The region is only two hours from Sydney.
The Gardens of Stone is a scenic lost world of intimate pagoda villages, natural rock sandstone pinnacles, endangered ecological communities and threatened plant and animal species.
The Gardens of Stone totals 55,000 hectares and only 18,700 hectares is currently protected by Gardens of Stone National Park and Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area. Over 39,000 hectares remain unprotected and are threatened by mining, quarrying and forestry.
The proposal extends over the sandstone pagoda landscapes of the Newnes, Ben Bullen and Wolgan State Forests. It also includes Crown reserves over the Blue Mountains Western Escarpment from Medlow Bath to Lithgow. It is an absolutely spectacular place and the last unprotected part of Myles Dunphy’s 1932 Greater Blue Mountains Park vision (see map below).
The region contains a wealth of cultural heritage both Aboriginal and European. It is a unique landscape of fragile beauty from its imposing cliff lines and startlingly beautiful "pagoda‟ sandstone formations to gentle grassy woodlands with interspersed upland swamps or dells. It is truly a wonderland.
This landscape, has eroded over millions of years, and centres on Newnes Plateau, the coldest and highest sandstone plateau of the Sydney Basin. Its ecosystems support threatened and endangered indigenous flora and fauna. Another priceless resource, the area's water, spring from its diverse upland swamps and in turn these contribute to a number of water supplies, including the headwaters of the Coxs River, a key catchment of Warragamba Dam.
Reserve the Public Forests
The NSW Government should immediately reserve the public forests of the Gardens of Stone region for nature conservation. The independent umpire, the Planning Assessment Commission in 2014 found that the highest and best use of the area is for conservation.
Gardens of Stone Stage 2 Proposal
The Colong Foundation for Wilderness, the Blue Mountains Conservation, Lithgow Environment Group and the Colo Committee have advanced a 39,000 hectare stage 2 proposal to reserve all of the remaining parts of the Newnes Plateau and surrounding sandstone uplands.
- Gardens of Stone II reserve proposal (18.7Mb).
The Gardens of Stone is New South Wales' very own Bungle Bungle Range. Imagine its just 2½ hours from Sydney on the western edge of the Blue Mountains. This place of superlative scenery and tremendous botanical diversity is the Gardens of Stone.
The Hon. Bob Carr launched a report on the Impact of Coal Mining on the Gardens of Stone on 27 April, 2010 [view transcript]. The report details the devastating impacts of coal mining at the Gardens of Stone, including the collapse of several hundred of cliffs and the poisoning of nationally endangered swamps with mine effluent. The report also outlines what can be done to stop the damage and save this ecologically significant area. As a result is is important that this area receive the protection it deserves.
The Gardens of Stone II offers to the general public that part of the Gardens of Stone landscape with the most easily accessed features and brings the Gardens of Stone to the majority of people.
The Gardens of Stone Alliance of environment groups commissioned environmental consultant, Ian Brown, to prepare a detailed visitor management plan for the reserve proposal, with an analysis of economic benefits if the area was reserved.