Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Yengo Wilderness Protected

“Today the Colong Foundation welcomes the announcement of a 119,000 hectare Yengo Wilderness, which expands the wilderness estate in NSW to over two million hectares,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Yengo is a step in the right direction for the Rees Government; and it’s first for wilderness protection. I hope that Premier Rees hears the call of the wild when he visits the Yengo Wilderness today, and supports a program for wilderness protection and management, which is badly needed”, said Mr Muir.

“Its been a long wait for Yengo, the closest wilderness to Sydney and Newcastle. The Colong Foundation nominated Yengo for assessment over ten years ago under the Wilderness Act”, Mr Muir said.

“Yengo is the last of the five great wilderness areas within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area to be protected and it has the highest plant diversity of all these areas,” he said.

“Yengo is the classic sandstone wilderness of interlocking spurs that rises above the Hunter Valley toward a prominent basalt peak – Mount Yengo,” said Mr Muir.

“Unfortunately Mt Yengo was excluded from the wilderness announcement to allow commercial tourism and vehicle access around it. And management of the Yengo National Park will remain essentially unchanged, as the main 4WD vehicle routes remain open, cutting the wilderness into four large pieces”, he said.

“We still have a chance to get things right and treat Mt Yengo and the wilderness with respect. Visitors need to step away from their vehicles and embrace the heart of this country. More ‘windscreen tourism’ and on-park tourist accommodation just transfers our everyday experiences into national parks. This is a formula for disappointment”, he said.

The problem that the Rees Government has is that his Department of Environment and Climate Change is planning to allow tourist accommodation into remote park areas - a total reversal of the national park traditions in this great State. Such a reversal is being done without consultation. This is one more big reason why Premier Rees needs to hear the call of the wild today. Pity his advisors chose not to invite a representative from the Colong Foundation to this wilderness announcement, but then we’re pretty wild about their development plans”, Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir , (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)