Namadgi National Park – plan of management

Recently Mr Stanhope announced the release of a new Namadgi National Park Plan of Management. (There’s also a summary.)

Mr Stanhope said the plan includes several recommendations arising from a Standing Committee’s inquiry into the draft management plan including new rules relating to the use of the park for horse riding and events.

“More stringent rules have been applied to the use of the park for recreation including restrictions on the areas of the reserve that can be used for events,” Mr Stanhope said. “The plan also commits the Government to developing a policy to guide the assessment of applications for events within the Park.

“The plan requires horse riders to keep at least 30 metres away from historic huts and creeks in order to protect these fragile areas from potential damage.”

The plan comes into effect on 24 September unless the Assembly votes to disallow it.

A few things of particular interest to horse riders:

Where we can ride

Horse riding is permitted in the brown and dark-green sections of this map

The plan has specific mention of horse riding activities and requirements:

8.7.6 Horse riding

Horse riding activities in Namadgi generally take the form of pack-saddling, car-based camping with horses or day rides. Horse riders may be individuals, private groups, or commercial tour groups.

Horse riding is allowed on formed roads east of Old Boboyan Road and on Grassy Creek trail which is being trialled for use by horse riders (over one to two years). During the trial period, use of the trail will be monitored and assessed for environmental impacts, compliance by horse riders in staying on formed trails and restriction of overnight camping to the Mt Clear Pound Campground.

A visitor log book will be provided at a locked gate on the trail to assist in monitoring use, and signs will be erected to reinforce the need for horse riders to remain on the trail. Access to the trail is also subject to ongoing agreement by neighbouring landholders and formal arrangements for ‘right of passage’ for trail users through private property. Following its approval, a review of the route may be triggered at any time should environmental impacts, access and compliance issues arise.

Environmental impacts associated with horse riding are strongly related to numbers and the establishment of large camps for lengthy periods, as occurs in parts of Kosciuszko National Park (NSW NPWS 2006). This is currently not the pattern in Namadgi. Other environmental and/or social impacts that need to be considered in relation to horse riding (including pack-saddling) are vegetation damage due to trampling and grazing, erosion and sedimentation from bare ground at camp sites, pollution of streams, spread of weed species, conflicts with other users and competition for camp sites.

policies

  • Horse riding is allowed on all formed roads and management trails east of Old Boboyan Road and the Grassy Creek Trail to the south. These trails are:
  • Mt Clear Fire Trail
  • Naas Valley Fire Trail
  • Long Flat Fire Trail
  • Left Hand Creek Fire Trail
  • Gudgenby Creek Fire Trail
  • The Forest Fire Trail
  • Brandy Flat Fire Trail
  • Burnt Hill Fire Trail
  • Potters Fire Trail
  • Carey Fire Trail
  • Grassy Creek Trail (subject to a trial period)
  • Old Boboyan Road.
  • Horse riders bringing in horse feed must use processed feeds or cracked grain that is considered to be weed-free. Horses must be fed this mix at least two days before entering the park. Hay feed is not allowed in the park as it contains weed seeds.
  • Small group sizes (numbers of both people and horses) will be encouraged and may be enforced through a permit system.
  • Horses must be tethered at least 30 m from lakes, streams, wetlands, huts and camping areas.
  • Access to any new trails constructed east of the Old Boboyan Road will be assessed by management according to:
  • the ecological sensitivity of the area
  • compatibility with other uses
  • the suitability of the trail.

Actions

135 Provide a visitor log book to assist in monitoring use of the Grassy Creek Trail and install signs to reinforce the need for horse riders to remain on the trail.

136 Place signs at huts to indicate that horses must be tethered at least 30m from lakes, streams, wetlands, huts and camping areas (also see Action 67).

137 Promote the Australian Alps Horse Riding Code of Practice to horse riders.

Bicentennial National Trail Action

138 Liaise with the Bicentennial National Trail Committee about the route, facilities, campground bookings, visitor safety, and the code of practice for horse riders and other users (e.g. cyclists, walkers) of the trail.

Camping with horses

Mt Clear Pound is the only designated campground for vehicle-based and pack camping with horses. This campground is also used as an overflow area for large groups, which occasionally creates a clash between users. Facilities at the Mt Clear Pound require considerable upgrading to accommodate both user groups and provide adequate toilet facilities and water. This would require designated camping areas for horses and large groups, and appropriate access. Facilities such as toilets can be shared.

Policy

. Vehicle-based camping and pack camping with horses is allowed at the Mt Clear Pound Campground and is not allowed anywhere else in the park.

Action

139 In consultation with user groups, redesign and upgrade the camping facilities at Mt Clear Pound Campground.

The plan also lists bushland areas surrounding Canberra where horse riding is permitted – that this new plan will complement.

Canberra Nature Park
6 123 ha at the urban interface or within the urban area. Residential day-use focus. Extensive networks of signposted trails. High levels of daily use, year round, 30 minute to three hour activities. Family play, walking, dog-walking, cycling, horse riding.

Murrumbidgee and Molonglo River Corridors
7 500 ha at 0–10 km from the urban interface. Family and water-based recreation focus. Extensive self-use facilities: network of picnic and swimming areas with bbqs and toilets along corridor; continuous walking trail from Point Hut to Casuarina Sands. Serviced campground at Cotter Reserve. High levels of daily use especially summer, one to six hour activities: picnicking, family play, swimming, canoeing/kayaking, fishing,  walking, dog-walking, cycling, horse riding.

Namadgi National Park
106 095 ha at 7–50 km from the urban interface. Remote/backcountry use and semi-remote interface  focus. Self-use facilities along key roads: lookouts, picnic areas with bbqs and toilets, longer walking trails, heritage trails. Popular day-use area for Canberra residents. Opportunities for overnight use include car, campervan, large and small group camping and remote bush camping. Almost all campground amenities include toilets and water. No showers or electricity provided. Car and motorbike touring, competitive events  (orienteering, rogaining), BBQs/picnics, walking, fishing, cycling, climbing, abseiling, nature study (e.g. bird watching), horse riding, cross country skiing all take place in Namadgi.

Uriarra Forest, Pierces Creek Forest, Gibraltar Creek Forest, Stromlo Forest, Kowen Forest and Ingledene Forest (previously managed as pine plantations prior to 2003 bushfire)

18 570 ha (combined total) at 0–25 km from the urban interface. Vehicle touring, adventure sports and family-activity focus. Extensive self-use facilities, widely distributed: road and trail networks, picnic areas with BBQs and toilets, mountain bike and walking trails. Basic camping at Blue Range, Laurel Camp. High levels of weekend use year round for day activities such as car and motorbike touring, competitive events (car rallies, mountain biking, orienteering, rogaining), BBQs/picnics, family play, walking, dog-walking, fishing, cycling, horse riding.

NSW National Parks
Extensive network of management trails in Brindabella National Park is available for 4WD vehicles and registered trail bikes (low-key camping is also provided for). Horse riding is permitted in parts of Brindabella  and Kosciuszko National Parks. Wilderness/back-country bushwalking from Namadgi to Kosciuszko National Park and Bimberi Nature Reserve. Extensive mountain retreat, resort, chalet and eco-lodge type accommodation is available in, and adjacent to Kosciuszko National Park. Kosciuszko National Park offers an extensive range of recreation opportunities. There are several small reserves in NSW (near to  Canberra) suitable for bushwalking and nature study.

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