The Impacts of Commercial Walks in National Parks - Two Case Studies

Multi-day walks in national parks are becoming increasingly sought after – especially commercial ‘supported’ walks run by private operators. Walkers only carry a day or light pack, as accommodation and food are typically provided, as well as guides. Such walks make the experience accessible to a wider range of people keen to appreciate the immersion in nature. However, the impacts of commercial walks in national parks are also coming under increased scrutiny.

Two such walks undertaken by the author in the last three years are presented as examples to illustrate diverse models of such walks, with noticeable differences in the impacts and experience.

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Eungella honeyeater

Inland from the coastal town of Mackay in central Queensland and bordering the Pioneer Valley, is the Clarke Range. Recognised as a Key Biodiversity Area by Birdlife Australia, it is home to the endemic Eungella honeyeater (Bolemoreus hindwoodi). This honeyeater has the smallest distribution of any mainland Australian bird and is listed as Vulnerable under Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act.

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Ranger of the Month

Shellie Cash is Ranger-in-Charge at Currawinya National Park in western Queensland. She has always loved being outdoors studying different animals. Growing up on a farm gave her a passion for land management and, after completing high school, Shellie took on a traineeship with QPWS in Rockhampton. It didn’t take her long to realise that she had found her perfect job.

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The National Park Experience: Personal reflection on why our parks must be valued

Since moving to Queensland six years ago our family has made countless holidays and day trips to Queensland’s national parks. There are so many choices.

Our most frequent and favourite day trip though has been to a reserve, not a national park. Located on the Sunshine Coast, Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is a short one hour and 10-minute drive from Brisbane.

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From the President - Autumn 2019

Firstly, best wishes to you all as we settle into a not so new year.

We are pleased to hear positive murmurings from Government and Departmental officers regarding a substantial increase in funding for both protected area management and acquisition. This year's State budget allocations and release of the eagerly awaited Protected Area Strategy will determine how much our optimism is justified.

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Eungella Bird Week

Imagine an isolated strip of tropical rainforest about sixty by three kilometres, surrounded by cleared pastures and swathes of dry eucalypt forest. Give it a bit of altitude, let’s say an average of 800 metres, and almost all of its annual rainfall in summer. Now bless it with almost 900 species of plants and a spectacular array of wildlife, including 227 recorded bird species (one of which is endemic), and presto - Eungella National Park!

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Dingo dinners

The dingo is Australia’s largest land-based predator, occurring across most of the mainland and on many nearshore islands.

New research, published in the journal Mammal Review, reveals the breadth and diversity of dingo diets across the continent.

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NPAQ CommunicationsComment
Ranger of the month

A Park Ranger in Great Sandy National Park. A Butchulla man (the Butchulla people are the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of K’gari aka Fraser Island). Holding an identified Indigenous Ranger position and a passion for culture. His aim is to bring cultural awareness and understanding into QPWS and to look after our natural landscapes and sea country in his dual role of Park Ranger and Traditional Custodian. Find out more about the ranger of the month.

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Our living outback

A place of beauty and diversity, the Australian outback is one of the last great regions of nature left on Earth. Outback Queensland boasts landscapes, rich in natural and cultural heritage, covering nearly two thirds of our state.

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NPAQ CommunicationsComment
Coming together for protected areas

Our state’s biodiversity has borne the brunt of much of our activity. The last State of the Environment Report contains some sobering figures. From 2007 to 2015 a further 61 fauna species became extinct, endangered or vulnerable (threatened). 68 recognised threats are contributing to this; key ones being vegetation clearing and inappropriate fire and grazing regimes. During the same period 275 plant species became threatened - the key contributing processes again being clearing, the spread of weeds and inappropriate fire regimes.

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NPAQ CommunicationsComment
Ranger of the Month

Bridget Armstrong is a Senior Conservation Officer in the Great Barrier Reef and Marine Parks Region of QPWS. She spent much of her childhood playing in and exploring the bush, beaches and estuaries. She studied ecology at university, and her first job confirmed that what she loved most was to be out in the field, providing ecological advice for park management.

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