Public exhibition of the Review of Environmental Factors provided an important opportunity for members of the community to have a say in relation to this activity proposed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Comments closed 2 September 2019.
The Snowies Iconic Walk is an important project set within one of the most significant and biodiverse national parks in Australia. Kosciuszko National Park contains a diverse array of ecological, cultural and recreational values within unique alpine and subalpine ecosystems.
The Snowies Iconic Walk project proposed construction of new tracks, and upgrades to existing tracks, to deliver a world-class walking trail through stunning alpine scenery that links the 5 existing resort villages at Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, Guthega, Perisher and Lake Crackenback. The walk will strengthen the appeal of New South Wales as a walking destination and provide opportunities for a more diverse range of visitors to enjoy our spectacular national parks.
Three sections of track will be constructed to complement the existing tracks around Mount Kosciuszko and the Main Range:
- Guthega to Charlotte Pass
- Charlotte Pass to Perisher via Porcupine Rocks
- Perisher to Bullocks Flat.
After a detailed analysis of several route options, the final alignment was selected to maximise the visitor experience of each route, minimise environmental impacts and ensure construction costs fit the project budget. The avoidance of significant impacts on threatened species and communities, especially alpine bogs, threatened reptiles and Mountain Pygmy-possum, has been a major driver in selecting the final track configuration.
A combination of construction methods is planned, including elevated structures and bridges, rock paving (including pitched rock) and natural/gravel surfaces. The works would involve the construction of approximately 25 kilometres of new walking tracks which include some minor upgrades and/or realignments to an existing track near Porcupine Rocks. A new bridge over Spencers Creek, small campsites at 2 locations along new alignments and upgrades of car parking facilities at the existing Porcupine Rocks trailhead at Perisher Valley were also proposed.
What is a Review of Environmental Factors?
A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) is used to document the environmental impact assessment of proposed activities on lands managed by NPWS. It examines the significance of likely environmental impacts of the proposal and measures required to mitigate adverse impacts to the environment.
The NPWS is the proponent and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) is the determining authority for this activity under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The REF will assist the determining authority to decide whether an activity should be approved and assists in the development of appropriate conditions should approval be given.
The REF is supported by several documents:
- Snowies Iconic Walk: Flora and fauna assessment and Test of Significance Report (PDF 35MB)
- Snowy Mountains Iconic Walk Project, Kosciuszko National Park: Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment (PDF 7MB)
- Snowy Mountains Iconic Walks Project, Kosciuszko National Park: Aboriginal cultural heritage assessment. Addendum June 2019 (PDF 3.9MB)
- Summary report of construction process (PDF 757KB)
What happens next?
At the end of the public exhibition period in September 2019, all submissions will be reviewed, and a submissions report will be provided to the determining authority.
The Department will determine the Review of Environmental Factors, based on its review of the documents and the information provided in submissions. If the Determination recommends that the activity may proceed, pending the approval of the proposed Kosciuszko Plan of Management amendments (Visitor Experience Improvements), construction of the new sections of track is expected to commence in the summer of 2019-20.
How can I get more information about the proposal?
For further information on the Snowies Iconic Walk visit the project web page or read Draft Walking Tracks Strategy – Kosciuszko Summit Precinct, the strategy that guides management of walking tracks in the southern end of Kosciuszko National Park.