Blue Mountains Public Lands Rationalisation Plan

The Society has drafted a final submission on the Stage 1 Report for Blue Mountains Public Lands Rationalisation Project. Thanks to all members who made comments on the initial draft and these have been taken into account in the final submission.

In summary, the submission contains agreement in principle with the report and supports the additions to the NP and amalgamation of east and west escarpments to the Regional Parks. Recommendations to NPWS include:

� Development of strategic plans for escarpments to identify suitable areas for recreational activities and these to include proper management plans.
� Provide significant recurrent funding for management of additions.
� Develop its own volunteer/bushcare program.
Additional lands be included: Colliery land on Darling Causeway; South Katoomba and Wentworth Falls decommissioned sewerage treatment plants; Medlow Bath airfield.

Land transfers to National Parks? Who should look after our escarpments?

Changes to the future use and management of 6442 ha of public land in the Blue Mountains could mean better conservation or more degradation. Which is the best way to keep our precious escarpments in public ownership? Which is the agency best able to deal with the complex management issues necessary to protect those escarpments from future development or from too many abseilers? The community is now being asked to comment on whether certain lands should be amalgamated and which public authority should own and manage it.

Blue Mountains National Park

There is a proposal to transfer about 4000 ha of public land into the Blue Mountains National Park. This is made up of a large number of lots across the mountains and is mostly land adjacent to the existing Park boundary. This seems to be a good idea that it becomes part of the national park however there is not enough funding now to manage the existing area of Park. Whilst we urge you to support these additions to the Park, we also ask you to request that it comes with ongoing funds for management.

The Eastern Escarpment

The community is being asked to choose between three options for the management of about 460 ha of land between Mt Riverview and Lapstone. The best option being suggested is to add this area to the Yellomundee Regional Park which is managed by NPWS. But Regional Parks do not appear to have strong conservation objectives, which National Parks offer. There are other options being considered including management by Council, a trust or Dept Land and Water Conservation.

The Western Escarpment

About 1330 ha of escarpment land from Mt York to Blackheath is proposed to be managed as one single Reserve. The Society believes that a reserve under the NPWS Act is the best option because of the need for a coordinated approach to all escarpment areas suffering from impacts of rocksports. A strategic plan is needed to select the most resilient sites for recreational activities to manage these to minimize the environmental impact over the long term. Should this be a Regional Park or a National Park? Bushcare Group Issues
Eleven bushcare groups will be affected by the proposed transfers. In some cases only part of the bushcare site will be transferred to NPWS, and the part where all the work is needed will stay with Council. For those groups where the whole of their site is to be transferred to NPWS, there will be a need for NPWS to provide bushcare officers and other resources to support their work.

The Blue Mountains National Parks and Wildlife Service does not have even one qualified Bush Regenerator whose sole task is to provide support and expert advice for its existing volunteers. It is long overdue that a position be funded within NPWS to coordinate volunteer efforts and to provide this expertise to its already overstretched rangers.

Members are urged to look at the proposals themselves at Council libraries or offices or on the web at Please let the Society know what you think by contacting Kevin Stapleton on 4784.2871 or e-mail

Clearing or Protecting the Bush?

Planning NSW has recently released a guide for Councils, Fire Authorities etc which sets out minimum standards for bushfire protection in new developments. This document has been updated and expanded with input from the RFS since its first release in 1991. Many members are concerned about the potential contained in this document for clearing of large areas of bushland read more. Join Mountain Watch

Do you live in Glenbrook, Hazelbrook, Blackheath or in the Megalong? Do you want to help look after your local bushland? All you need is time to walk around your local area and access to a computer.

Mountain Watchers check council development applicatons to see if there are any developments in areas where they shouldn't be. We also check to see if developments are being designed to protect the special features of the area like creeks, rocky outcrops or swamps.