Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

New Plan subjects Kosciuszko to development creep

A peak environment group holds grave fears for the future of Kosciuszko National Park with yesterday’s release of a management plan that prioritises resort development and high impact recreation.  These development opportunities contained in the plan ignore the fact that the alpine area of the Park is recognised as one of the most sensitive areas in Australia under climate change.

“This Plan is a pre-election gift to developers.  The Government has disregarded clear warnings from the Independent Scientific Committee it employed to help write the Plan”, said Mr Keith Muir, director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“With climate change upon them, the resort industry has won permission to expand summer based tourism.  The Government has failed to take effective action to curb investment in further unsustainable on-park development.  The developers will also draw more and more water from already stressed rivers to feed hundreds of snow-making guns,” Mr Muir said.

“Under the Plan, horseriding, horse camps and feral horse numbers will increase.  At Pinch River, a known area for illegal riding in the Pilot Wilderness, horse facilities have secured Government support for upgrading.  In fact, the Plan does nothing to further protect wilderness areas.  And, feral horses will continue to flourish due to inadequate controls, “ he said.

Kosciuszko is a national park of international significance and the Government has learned little from the Snowy Hydro debacle about the way the people of NSW value this park, “ said Mr Muir.

“The new plan that is supposed to operate for twenty years but will need to be revisited in less than five years to further address climate change and curb the growing visitor use pressures.  I fear that the construction of more and more facilities with the increased funds gained from park visitors is a slippery slope that will cause more problems than it solves.  Stronger wilderness and other environmental protection measures are needed to balance the visitor use pressures if the park is to survive,” he said.

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