Plan for Pilliga Reserves open for public comment

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is inviting public comment on a draft Statement of Management Intent (SMI) that has been prepared to provide management direction for reserves in the northern and western Pilliga, near Baradine.

Outback landscape in Pilliga National Park. Photo credit: Rob Cleary.

NPWS Northern Inland Director Robert Smith said it was important that the community has an opportunity to share their thoughts on the draft SMI which outlines the area's landscape, cultural, heritage and recreational values, the threats to those values, and proposed management actions to protect them into the future.

"This is a unique part of the State and we want everyone with an interest to have their say," Mr Smith said.

"Formally state forest, the Pilliga Outwash group of reserves were gazetted in 2005 and includes Pilliga National Park, Pilliga State Conservation Area, Pilliga West National Park, Pilliga West State Conservation Area and Merriwindi State Conservation Area.

"Significantly, the reserves contribute over 91,000 hectares to the western section of the 500,000 hectare Pilliga Forest - the largest continuous native forest west of the Great Dividing Range - and home to five endangered ecological communities, nineteen threatened plant species, thirty-one threatened animal species, as well as several regionally significant species and migratory birds.

"They are also part of the identity, spirituality and a resource base for the Gamileroi/ Kamileroi/ Gomeroi people, and contain historic heritage associated with the early settlement of the region and use of the area for forestry and grazing.

"Future management of the Pilliga Outwash Parks aims to protect the natural and cultural values, and the draft SMI recognises the need for feral animal and weed control, and provides for hazard reduction and fire suppression activities.

"The SMI provides for sustainable public access, recreational and commercial use of the reserves so it is important we engage with the community on this important part of the State," Mr Smith said.

The Draft SMI also supports the establishment of the 'Reintroduction of Locally Extinct Mammals' project in Pilliga State Conservation Area (SCA). Pilliga SCA is one of three parks in NSW where predator-free enclosures will be installed, to enable populations of locally threatened mammals to become established", said Mr. Smith. The project in the Pilliga will be delivered on behalf of the NPWS by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

Comments open until 7 August at: Pilliga Outwash Parks