Concerns raised about walking track upgrades on Main Range

BUSHWALK: Experienced bushwalkers are unhappy with plans to upgrade some trails on Main Range.
BUSHWALK: Experienced bushwalkers are unhappy with plans to upgrade some trails on Main Range.

The potential modification of walking tracks and privately owned huts to a walk from Cunningham’s Gap to Mistake Mountain on the Main Range has caused some consternation to serious bush walkers.

Stuart Nicol, 28 of Taringa said there were limited overnight walks available for bushwalkers to tackle in south east Queensland. Most of these class six tracks can be found at Main Range and Lamington national parks.

He said by upgrading the tracks, the whole nature of the walk would change, making it less of a challenge to those who choose tracks requiring a higher level of skill. Mr Nicol, an engineer, said he and friends undertook overnight walks seven or eight weekends a year.

Mr Nicol said the proposal  for the tracks and privately owned huts was mooted by The Spicers company, an eco tourism company on Main Range.

“The proposal assesses the impact on the environment, but does not look at the effect it will have on people. The proposal fails to acknowledge that the existing track is used by the public and as a result there has been no consideration to the existing users and potential users of the national park. This is coming at a time where there is a big push by volunteer groups to take youth including Scouts, Girl Guides, Duke of Edinborough and  school outdoor education programs and bushalking clubs on class six tracks, which this will destroy,” Mr Nicol said.

Mr Nicol said further that the installation of private eco tourism huts were unnecessary to the Queensland bushwalking conditions.

Chief of staff for the office of the Ministers for the environment and the Great Barrer reef,  science and arts Daniel Lato said the Queensland Government was committed to encouraging environmental best-practice ecotourism.

“Nature based experiences delivered by tourism operators committed to and passionate about these unique areas showcase and contribute to the preservation of unique natural landscapes and the cultural heritage and wildlife of Queensland’s protected areas,” he said.

Mr Lato said the State would be assessing the proposal against the relevant provisions and that Mr Nicol’s concerns would be considered in the final assessment.

“However, I am advised the proposed low impact grade five trails have been designed and located to link into and enhance the existing trail network,” he said.

Mr Nicol said he believed the existing class six track already linked into and enhanced the surrounding tracks.