Horse riding is a healthy recreational activity which can raise awareness, appreciation and understanding of the natural and cultural values of national parks.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service aims to provide a range of appropriate opportunities for horse riding. There are currently over 100 national parks across New South Wales where people can enjoy horse riding.
The Strategic Directions for Horse Riding in NSW National Parks was developed in 2012 to provide guidance for the process of increasing horse riding access to parks where this activity is suitable.
The strategy also provides guidance for the protection of park values and the safety of visitors to national parks in which horse riding occurs.
We have also developed the Code of Practice for Horse Riding in Parks, which outlines practical guidance to minimise the impacts of horse riding on the natural and cultural values of parks. This includes ensuring horse riding occurs in appropriate locations, primarily on established management trails.
Wilderness horse riding trial
One of the recommendations in the Strategic Directions for Horse Riding in NSW National Parks was to establish a trial program for horse riding in wilderness areas.
Recreational horse riding was trialled in 4 national parks between April 2014 and April 2016. The pilot program provided an important opportunity to test whether horse riding is appropriate in wilderness areas.
Based on outcomes of the wilderness horse riding trial, proposed amendments to the relevant plans of management to allow horse riding on trails that were part of the trial were put up for public consultation. Public exhibition of these proposed amendments closed on 7 August 2018.