Wednesday, August 13, 2014

National Park news

THE monthly meeting of the Maydena Community Association last week featured a guest speaker from Mt Field National Park who addressed some issues of concern to both the local residents and members of the wider Derwent Valley community.
Some very good news is the recent increase in visitor numbers at Mt Field after some years of decline since the introduction of entry fees to Tasmania's National Parks. It was reported that 141,000 people had visited Mt Field in the last financial year and this was described as an all-time record. Mt Field National Park is now fully encompassed in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and this is expected to bring even greater recognition and visitation.
The meeting also heard that the centenary of the park's founding is now just two years away and big celebrations are being planned. Mt Field, along with Freycinet, is Tasmania's oldest national park and reportedly the third-oldest in the world, behind Yellowstone in the US and Royal National Park in NSW.
The following issues were also addressed:
  • The Parks and Wildlife Service now has responsibility for the Eagles Eyrie near Maydena and is looking to lease it out via an expression of interest process. It was not clear what stage that process had reached.
  • The Creepy Crawly Trail is not closed. It has been reconfigured and is now a walk in, walk out arrangement rather than a circuit.
  • Junee Cave is open and will remain so. The structure going into the cave is being regularly inspected and does have a limited life and access to the cave may change.
  • Access to Growling Swallet is available by borrowing a key ($1000 deposit) which needs to be booked via the visitor centre at Mt Field.
  • Marriott Falls is open to visitors and access has been improved thanks to the good work of the Friends of Mt Field.
There was a discussion about where parks entry fees apply and the meeting was advised that any use of the park required payment of the relevant entry fee. This included:
  • Use of the barbecue areas
  • Driving up to the ski field
  • Visiting the Waterfalls Cafe
  • Using campsites at Lake Pedder such as Teds Beach.

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