Smoky Cape campground to reopen following tree risk mitigation works

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) are undertaking tree risk mitigation works in Smoky Cape campground ahead of its expected reopening on Monday 9 May.

Smoky Cape camppground, Hat Head National Park

NPWS Hastings Macleay Area Manager Shane Robinson said that an expert arborist has identified a number of trees in high visitation and high traffic zones within Smoky Cape campground as having significant structural weakness and risk of failure.

“These structural weaknesses are due to a range of factors including rot and decay, severe trunk and limb scarring and root compaction,” said Mr Robinson.

“Falling trees and tree limbs are an expected hazard in natural environments like national parks, but we manage the risk to visitors by undertaking regular tree risk inspections and follow-up treatments across our parks to remove hazards and provide a safe environment for visitors.

“Control measures including limb removal, canopy reduction and, in some cases, complete removal of the tree, will be undertaken by local arborists in the week commencing Monday 19 April.

“Only trees which impact designated campsites, day visitor parking, roads or walking tracks will be treated, where necessary.

“Following completion of the works, we intend to replant areas within Smoky Cape Campground using more robust indigenous tree species, donated by the Arakoon Landcare Nursery, that will provide a good shade canopy suitable for campgrounds,” said Mr Robinson.

The works are part of NPWS’ long-term vegetation management program for Smoky Cape Campground and will comply with work, health and safety regulations and relevant tree pruning and amenity codes of practice.

Internal roads and campsites at Smoky Cape Campground sustained significant damage in the March 2021 floods. NPWS is currently undertaking flood damage repair works which are due to be completed in early May.