Created by the team who founded takanya Trail Ultra, the Pilliga Ultra is a new trail running event seeking to raise funds and support for the protection of NSW’s Pilliga Forest from the threat of coal seam gas mining.
The crew at For Wild Places have teamed up with The Wilderness Society to host the first ever Pilliga Ultra – a new trail running event which aims to raise money and support for the protection of the Pilliga Forest.
The race will be held on July 31st 2021 and there are only 100 spots available at the starting line, so sign up now to run for the wilderness!
‘We had an absolute ball running over breathtaking rocky outcrops whilst taking in the stunning views, and rare eucalypt woodlands’, says For Wild Places founder Simon Harris.
You don’t have to be a pro athlete to run – there are 5km, 20km, or 50km trail options along hand-picked routes through this unique landscape – but you do have to dedicate yourself to fundraising.
Each runner is expected to raise a minimum of $999 to participate in the run, with all money raised going directly to the groups fighting this coal seam gas project:
- 50% to The Wilderness Society
- 25% to the Traditional Owner groups working hard to protect country
- 25% will go to the legal case challenging the gas project.
How nice is knowing where your money’s going?!
But don’t stress! For Wild Things provides you with a bunch of resources and support to help you raise the money needed to get to the Pilliga!
What is the Pilliga Forest?
The Pilliga Forest is NSW’s largest tract of semi-arid woodland and expands over 5,000 square kilometres between the towns of Narrabri, Coonabarabran, and Pilliga in the state’s north west.
This unique ecosystem is home to over 900 species of plants and 100 species of native animals, with many species totally unique to the forest.
The forest sits above the Great Artesian Basin, the largest and deepest artesian basin in the world which supplies fresh water to much of rural Australia.
Why does the Pilliga Forest need protecting?
The Pilliga Forest is under threat of a massive coal seam gas extraction project known as the Narrabri Gas Project.
Led by Australian gas and oil company Santos, and already given the green light by the NSW Government, this project would see 850 gas wells created across 1000 hectares of the forest and adjoining grazing land – wells which would bore into the Great Artesian Basin below.
‘The threat to the Pilliga Forest is a national matter. Beyond a refuge for flora and fauna and home to a vibrant local community, this land has cared for the Indigenous custodians, the Gamileroi people, for millennia’, says Simon Harris.
Who’s against the project?
The majority of the local community of Narrabri has shown firm opposition to the project, claiming the gas extraction could damage the Great Artesian Basin, risking the fresh water supply to much of western NSW, as well as threatening native species that live in the forest.
The Traditional Owners of the land, the Gamileroi people, are also in fierce opposition to the project, stating that Santos is not welcome on their land.
Who supports the project?
There’s strong political support for the project, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison placing the project at the forefront of the country’s ‘gas-fired recovery’ after the COVID economic recession.
The project was approved in June 2020 by the NSW State Government, as it’s estimated to produce up to 200 terajoules a day – around half of NSW’s daily gas consumption – over a 20 year period.
There’s also strong support from many business groups in the area, as well as gas-reliant manufacturers.
How do I get involved?
Keen to run to help save the Pilliga? Sign up now to run on July 31st!
If trail running isn’t really your thing, you can donate to a runner or team instead! Check out the runners board and help the cause with your valuable dollars.
Feature photo thanks to For Wild Places