Public exhibition of the draft plan provided an important opportunity for members of the community to have a say in the future management of Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area.
The draft plan had been prepared using a new format which is presented as two separate documents:
- The plan of management which is the 'legal' document that will be provided to the Minister for formal adoption.
- The planning considerations document which is a supporting document that includes detailed information on park values (e.g. threatened species and cultural heritage) and threats to these values. A summary of this information is provided in the draft plan of management.
Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area is significant because of its natural and cultural values. The park lies within the traditional Country of the Wiradjuri People.
Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area is an isolated high-altitude remnant and contains the largest remnant of subalpine vegetation in the central west. The park protects habitat for 9 threatened native animal species, 2 threatened native plants and 3 threatened ecological communities.
The panoramic views from the summit are a major drawcard to locals and to visitors from outside the region. Mount Canobolas is one of the most significant nature-based attractions in the central west of New South Wales.
Orange City Council have proposed a significant mountain biking development for the park and surrounding lands. Their proposal includes some 63 kilometres of single-track in the park and a track head offering facilities such as a café or kiosk and toilets, and services such as bike hire, transport shuttles and visitor information. A further 54 kilometres of single-track is proposed in the lands adjoining the park, principally in Canobolas and Glenwood state forests. The draft plan enables further planning and assessment work for this project, and if approved, for the construction and maintenance of single-track and associated facilities.
What is a plan of management?
Parks and reserves established under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 need to have a plan of management. The plan includes information on important park values and provides directions for future management. The plan of management is a legal document, and after the plan is adopted all operations and activities in the park must be in line with the plan. From time to time plans of management are amended to support changes to park management.
The National Parks and Wildlife Act sets out the matters that need to be considered when preparing a plan of management. These matters are addressed in the supporting Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area Draft Plan of Management: Planning considerations document. This document can be updated where appropriate, for example, to include new information on the values of the park (e.g. new threatened species) or new management approaches (e.g. a new pest management technique) or new park programs.
Why is a plan being prepared now?
The current plan of management was approved in 2003 and many things have changed in the last 15 years so a new plan is needed. The draft plan enables further planning and assessment work to be undertaken into the Orange City Council concept plan for mountain biking facilities in the park, and if approved, for the construction and maintenance of those facilities. The draft plan has also been substantially updated to take account of new information and plans guiding fire, pest, weed and threatened species management.
When will the plan of management be finalised?
At the end of the public exhibition period in October 2018, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will comprehensively review all submissions, prepare a submissions report and make any necessary changes to the draft plan of management. The Western Rivers Regional Advisory Committee and the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council will then review the plan along with the submissions and report, as required by the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
Once their input has been considered and any further changes made to the plan of management, we provide the plan to the Minister for the Environment. The plan of management is finalised when the Minister formally adopts the plan under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Once a plan is adopted it is published on the NPWS website and a public notice is advertised in the NSW Government Gazette.
How can I get more information about the draft plan?
For further information on the plan of management please contact the NPWS Park Management Planning Team on 02 9585 6595.