The ‘luxury walk’ model is booming across Australia, leading to increased interest in the money-making potential of putting commercial developments in our national parks. New proposals are popping up across Australia, from Cooloola in Queensland’s Great Sandy National Park to the South Coast Track in Tasmania; from NT’s Kings Canyon to the Light to Light walk on the NSW south coast; Kangaroo Island in South Australia to the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing in Victoria’s Alpine National Park.
These public lands are places of outstanding natural beauty, with immense ecological, cultural and recreational value. These proposals are part of a shift towards managing our parks for profit, not protection.
So far, local community groups and not-for-profits have been fighting each project individually. Consultation has been minimal, and public scrutiny low. However, the heat is being turned up: there has been significant recent media attention, with features in outlets including the Guardian, ABC, Good Weekend and Australian Geographic. A nationwide approach is desperately needed to raise awareness of the number and scale of these proposals, and the impacts and issues associated with large-scale urban development in these delicate ecosystems. Decision makers need to be held to account.
Keep-It-Wild.org is a new website set up to shine a light on the issue, and keep track of proposals for developments in national parks and other public land across Australia. The site will help community organisations battling these proposals by providing a central space to host and share information, educate the public and media, and monitor the status of these projects.
The site will be officially launched in Sydney this Saturday (19 November) at the Bushwalking NSW symposium on Tourism Development in Protected Areas in Sydney.
We’d appreciate your help in spreading the message about both the site and the symposium: please share with your networks. If you are aware of any other questionable proposals, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also sign up to attend the symposium, either in person or remotely, at the address above.
November 17, 2022 at 5:55 pm
Excellent! These proposals, in effect privatising the wild places that belong to all of us, must be opposed by all means at our disposal.
November 18, 2022 at 12:23 am
Having hiked the VIC & NSW high country over many decades independently (mostly with only one companion), the growth of commercial, guided hikes removes more initiatve, challenge & independence from people”s lives just when it is needed to build resilience!!
November 22, 2022 at 4:07 pm
I was checking out this page just now. https://www.keepitwild.com.au/proposed-developments/
I can’t believe how many developments are planned. No doubt there are a heap more we don’t know about yet.
December 27, 2022 at 1:02 pm
There are so many false assumptions and flawed reasoning in the Falls to Hotham Planning one could easily think there is another agenda. A cynical person might see the construction of accommodation at Tawonga huts (which is not on the track), Cope hut (near the aqueduct) and High Knob will be more about servicing Backcountry ski touring.
If the numbers projected actually prevail the que for the toilets in the morning will mean a two hour wait for the last up. Nothing about this plan makes any sense. The business plan is so highly redacted it is of little use and the excuse is ‘commercial in confidence’. Why would a count of people doing the walk now be redacted? The only reason would be that it does not back up the business plan.
A visual impact study was released this year but it only considered the visual impact from places like Mt. McKay. Places so far away from the sites to be of little consequence. The visual impact at the site was never considered.
Honestly, I think this is a matter better dealt with by IBAC as we will never know what has transpired in the closed meetings.