Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Chaelundi Wilderness Welcomed

The announcement of an 11,000 hectares Chaelundi wilderness today is another step toward the protection of our precious wilderness estate.  This wilderness, however, is just one of a number of backlog of areas that remain to be protected in NSW”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The wilderness announced for declaration covers outstanding old growth forests of very high diversity.  It contains Chandlers Creek, which runs through the area is a dramatic wild stream that will gain better protection from this decision.  The area also has the highest density of the nationally endangered Hastings River Mouse,” Mr Muir said.

“The Chaelundi wilderness contains 21 species of threatened fauna, including the Yellow-bellied Glider, Rufous Bettong and Tiger Quoll. These species require large contiguous habitat area for their long-term survival,” he said.

“To reserve this wilderness area, the Government has acquired 4,000 hectares of important forest leasehold land.  The acquisition underscores the importance of maintaining the Dunphy Wilderness Fund that has protected 68,000 hectares of rare wilderness land over the last ten years.  We are yet to hear what will be the fate of this important fund,” he said.

Mr Muir said that “The announcement of the states’ first ever wild rivers is also welcome news.”

“These decisions break the dam on a number of wilderness proposals that are currently before government, including the Yengo and Mummel Gulf wilderness areas”, said Mr Muir.  

“There is still a long way to go before wilderness is properly protected and managed in NSW. For a start there needs to be a Wilderness management team within the Department of the Environment and Conservation and adequate funding for these threatened areas.  Precious wilderness is a litmus test, and the Iemma Government still has a long way to go on protecting the natural environment”, Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)