The forests of north east Tasmania are like nowhere else on Earth. From the glacial refugia forests of the Blue Tier holding the tallest flowering plants on earth, to the Gondwanic remnant forests around the Blue Derby mountain bike trails, these forests are under increasing threat from logging.

The campaign to protect these forests in recent times has been driven by locals involved in ecotourism and outdoor adventures like mountain bike riding. It has been a great example of people standing up for the places that they love.

Last week, more than 160 other tourism bodies, signed an open letter to the State Premier, the Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Events and the Minister for Climate Change regarding the economic and environmental implications of logging carbon-rich Gondwana remnant forests in the North-East of Tasmania. These forests are within proximity of the world-famous Blue Derby bike tracks.

The outdoor and tourism industry stands up for Blue Derby

One of the signatories, the Tasmanian Wilderness Guides Association (TWGA), said:

We admire the hard work done by the team at Blue Derby Wild standing for the North-East forests that remain and surround one of our most exciting and successful tourism destinations. 

The letter, addressed to Peter Gutwein, Sarah Courtney and Roger Jaensch, outlines the twofold negative impacts that logging these forests would create on both climate change and tourism branding goals.

The ricochet effect of surrounding one of Tasmania’s premier tourism destinations with destroyed ecosystems and greatly diminished landscapes is not lost on tourism operators and guides. The implications should be considered carefully by both the Ministers and the Premier.

TWGA is concerned by the government’s lack of foresight in regards to branding. “To think that clear fell logging of high conservation forests goes unnoticed by visitors to Tasmania and that this outdated practice doesn’t damage our growing brand is something the current government needs to have a good hard look at,” Vice President of the TWGA Kenna Reid-Clarke suggests.

“Once a brand is damaged it can be hard to repair. ”People within the industry realise that everything from our food-based tourism to our wilderness-based tourism industry is built upon the idea that our island is a green, healthy space. As well as the myriad of eco-system services and habitats that these forests provide they also amplify and support the concept of ‘clean, green Tasmania.’

“The transformation of Derby through mountain biking showcases how successful adventure tourism can be when managed well, these trails are world class and show off Tasmania’s beauty while providing a wild ride,” says Kenna Reid-Clarke.  

But to continue the wild ride, the TWGA believes brave decisions must be made by those in power; “I believe Tasmania is nearing a time where we transition from destructive industries and become a leader in sustainability. Ending logging in high conservation forests is a no brainer, I hope the Gutwein government have the foresight to show real leadership on this matter.”

What’s next?

BDW say:

‘Logging for road construction operations have started in two forests surrounding the iconic Krushkas forests of the Blue Derby mountain bike trails. This is the thin edge of the wedge as more logging is planned in the coming months and years in these areas.

There is a petition (organised by BDW) available here.

You can follow the campaign via the BDW facebook page.

You can read the full statement here.