High value native vegetation in the western part of the Wirrabara forest are being safeguarded for future generations and incorporated into the greater South Australian parks system.
The South Australian Government has approved the transfer of more than 3,500 hectares of land in Wirrabara forest from ForestrySA to the state’s parks system under the management of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.
The land transfer creates one linked up area for conservation, recreation and tourism providing continued enjoyment for the both the local community and visiting tourists.
In addition to protecting ongoing public access, the transfer will also ensure co-ordinated conservation and fire management plus the potential for the future establishment of nature based-tourism ventures.
The Bangor bushfire burnt 1776 hectares of commercial plantations at Wirrabara in January 2014. This fire followed the February 2013 Bundaleer fire, where 427 hectares of commercial plantations were lost.
Given the extent of the damage caused by bushfires, a ‘business as usual’ approach for the Mid North Forests was not an option.
The State Government is working with proponents as part of its Mid North Forests Future Strategy to determine the future use of the Mid North Forests. Final discussions are underway.
For further information on the Mid North Forests Future Strategy visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/forestry/mid_north_forests_future_strategy
Quotes attributable to Minister for Forests, Leon Bignell
This has been a complex process and I would like to acknowledge both the Member for Stuart and the Member for Frome, who have been excellent advocates for the region.
Throughout the entire process, the State Government’s focus has been on securing jobs and ensuring the region’s economic prosperity.
We all have the same goal - to deliver the best result for the region, retain the jobs we have and, where possible, increase the number of jobs in the area.
It is clear there is huge potential for expanded and new enterprises to employ people in the Mid North region and we want everyone - industry, community and government - to work together to increase economic activity in the area.
This announcement allows for high-value conservation areas of native vegetation to be linked to the Telowie Gorge Conservation Park and the Napperby block of Mount Remarkable National Park.
Conserving these important areas and maintaining long-held community recreation and heritage values is an important aspect of PIRSA’s Mid North Forests Future Strategy.
I’m pleased to see these areas will continue to be a place of recreational and environmental importance for South Australia.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter
The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources will manage high conservation value areas of native vegetation and key recreational sites at Wirrabara forest, such as Wirrabara Range and Spaniards Gully, which will become parks, and the King Tree native forest reserve, Ippinitchie Campground, the old Wirrabara nursery, and the Wirrabara Forest HQ area.
DEWNR will work closely with the Mid North community in the management and use of these areas into the future, including nature-based tourism opportunities and other economic activities.