Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

The Gardens of Stone - Stage Two Proposed State Conservation Areas and Park Extensions

Today the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society and the Colo Committee launched a new proposal to protect 40,000 hectares.  The proposal, centred on the township of Lithgow, is called the Gardens of Stone.

"The Gardens of Stone area is scenically, environmentally and historically unparalleled. Its current low level of protection shows a scandalous disregard of this magnificent heritage. The Gardens of Stone proposal is an innovative approach that will ensure better protection of these unparalleled areas and greatly enhance tourism in the western Blue Mountains-Lithgow region", said Dr Brian Marshal, President of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society.

“'This area for too long has been taken for granted, yet is truly a national gem. Its geology is dramatic and spectacular, its biodiverisity is fascinatingly diverse, and its cultural history is extensive. It is time at last for the overlooked to be valued and acknowledged.  This is a fantastic area that truly deserves reserve status!", said Haydn Washington, Secretary of the Colo Committee.

“The Gardens of Stone is a place worth saving that has great potential for quiet, family-based recreation.  The proposed system of new Gardens of Stone parks will greatly enhance tourism opportunities in the central and western Blue Mountains around Lithgow,” said Keith Muir, director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness. 

The Gardens of Stone has iconic heritage of national significance.  The park proposal aims to protect and manage:

·         the first three rugged mountain passes west to the interior of Australia;

·         the outstanding Aboriginal cultural sites on and around Newnes Plateau;

·         the wonderful oil shale mining ruins on spectacular Airly Mesa;

·         some of the highest plant diversity in the Blue Mountains; and

·         some of the most beautiful and intricate sandstone formations in Australia. 

“The plant, animal and Aboriginal heritage of the proposal reflect the landscape’s diversity. The proposal’s many rare plants, unique snowgrass-snowgum woodlands, shrub swamps and heathlands are not protected elsewhere, said Mr Washington.

“The Gardens of Stone is a geological wonderland of coloured escarpments, narrow canyons, rock arches, cave overhangs, lonely sandstone peninsulas and remnant forested sand dunes from the last ice age”, Dr Marshall said.

Mr Muir believes that “Heritage-based tourism could draw Lithgow toward a more environmentally sustainable future”.

“The proposal provides an integrated plan of action to protect, manage and interpret the area but recognises the realities of existing coalmining operations”, he added.

Contact:

Keith Muir - Colong Foundation for Wilderness - 0438 512 304

Brian Marshall - Blue Mountains Conservation Society – 4784 1148

Haydn Washington – Colo Committee – 0429 967845 or 63796257