Far from being ‘pristine wilderness’, Kosciuszko National Park is an ecosystem in recovery.
In the 20th century, clearing, grazing and mining were the culprits, and in recent years we’ve seen feral horses further degrading the landscape, as well as the reinstatement of active construction by the Snowy Hydro Corporation.
Now, a new player has entered the scene.
The NSW Government has put forward a suite of proposals and amendments recommending a significant increase in tourism capacity of the region, essentially based on the idea that just because there’s demand, it must be met.
These proposals will see more tourism infrastructure built in previously capped parts of the park, including more car parks and accommodation, as well as allowing privatised helicopter and 4WD access to hiking tracks within the park.
‘These plans flip conservation principles on their head’, says Executive Officer at the National Parks Association, Gary Dunnett.
‘That fundamental idea of conservation management is that you start from the intrinsic values of the landscape, understanding what the needs, as well as any potential threats or vulnerabilities are, and then you decide what interventions and visitation it can cope with.’
Unequivocally, Kosciuszko National Park doesn’t yet have the resilience to deal with the increased visitation that these proposals would allow.
Why is protecting Kosciuszko National Park important?
Kosciuszko National Park is an incredibly valuable ecosystem for Australia, much more important than many other mountainous continents, due to how small of a portion of the continent is taken up by mountainous terrain.
One of Australia’s leading experts on the history of the region, Deirdre Slattery, stresses the importance of Kosciuszko’s mountain ranges in generating the catchments that we rely on to exist,
‘The fact that they’re the source of the rivers on a hot, dry, flat continent means that they shape the way that we live.’
OG Australian Alps website Mountain Journal have broken down the impacts in much more detail in this article.
Submissions Close Tonight!
23rd August. We know, that’s now. These dates have a way of sneaking up on you. You can help by making a submission to the NSW Government with your feedback on the proposals tonight.
Check out this helpful submission guide.
You can trust this won’t be the last you hear from the We Are Explorers crew on this issue.