The Tasmanian government has long pursued plans to open up protected areas to new commercial development. These are largely focused on new commercially operated walks that have accommodation attached to them. These have been strongly opposed by conservation groups and the walking community.
The Tasmanian National Parks Association (TNPA) provide an update on the planned “Iconic Walk” proposed for the Tyndall Range in the west of the state.
The government has promised $40 million to develop the walk, which is intended to be hut-based multi-day journey similar to the Three Capes Track in the east of the state. TNPA recently met with the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) project managers for a briefing on progress. They have resolved that the walk will be 3 days / 2 nights, with overnight ‘nodes’ designed to accommodate 30 people in roofed accommodation and another 20 campers. The TNPA says it ‘retains serious concerns regarding the impact footprint of such nodes, as well as the collateral damage to the alpine Tyndall Plateau nearby, which is already experiencing increased visitation and trampling’.
Surveys and design work leading to a PWS Reserve Activity Assessment (RAA) will occur over the next two years, and then will presumably this document will be released for public comment. Construction is not likely to be complete until 2029-3
From the TNPA:
The Tasmanian government promised $20 million at the 2018 election to develop Tasmania’s “Next Iconic Walk”, intended to be another hut-based multi-day Three Capes Track-style development. After a public call for ideas, the chosen option in the Tyndall Range (part of the West Coast Range) was announced on 26 July 2019.
Minister for Parks, Jacquie Petrusma, announced in on 6 September 2021; “The findings of a Feasibility Study into a new overnight experience in the Tyndall Range on Tasmania’s West Coast proves the proposal is feasible and will deliver a new and iconic multi-day walking experience”. She also doubled the funding already committed for the project to take it to $40 million.
The proposed Next Iconic Walk, and in particular its location and selection process, has been criticised by a range of environmental groups. Many aspects of the Feasibility Study reinforce these earlier concerns (see here and here). We have prepared some detailed notes on the Feasibility Study.
The TNPA response to the feasibility study can be found here.
Header image: Lake Huntley & Tyndall Range. Photo: Martin Hawes, via TNPA.