Horse riding is a popular recreational and sporting activity and, for many Australians, has strong cultural values associated with exploration, settlement and bush skills. Appreciation and enjoyment of natural areas on horseback may provide for expression of those cultural values.
All recreational activities, including horse riding, can generate impacts on the park environment and must therefore be managed in accordance with legislative requirements and the objectives for which certain lands are reserved. The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 requires that the principles of ecologically sustainable development be applied in order to achieve the objects of that Act.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has developed the Recreational Horse Riding Policy (2006) outlining a wide variety of issues to consider when assessing permissibility of horse riding in individual reserves. A statewide Code of Practice for Horse Riding in Parks has been developed to minimise the environmental impacts of horse riding.
The Mount Kaputar National Park Plan of Management (2006) specifies those areas of the reserve where horse riding is inappropriate. The plan excludes horse riding from areas susceptible to erosion and weed invasion; areas where rare plant and animal species occur; areas where horses may have an unacceptable impact on water quality; areas where an alternate recreational use predominates and declared Wilderness areas (Wilderness Act 1987).
Aims of this Guide:
- To clearly outline areas where horse riding is permissible within Mount Kaputar National Park.
- To ensure the ecologically sustainable management of horse riding within the park.
- To outline the responsibilities of horse riders while within Mount Kaputar National Park to ensure minimal ecological impact and to reduce potential conflict with other park users.
Permissible horse riding areas
Visitors can ride horses in Mount Kaputar National Park in those areas where it is not otherwise prohibited. Restrictions apply regardless of whether a person is physically on the horse or not.
Planning a ride
When planning a ride into the park, ensure that you are familiar with park regulations. It is the responsibility of riders to make sure they are riding in permissible locations.
Riders must contact the NPWS Narrabri Area office before they enter Mount Kaputar National Park. This will ensure that riders are aware of any issues arising from incidents, temporary restrictions or conflicting operations, and will also assist management in compilation of park use data.
Some areas (refer to Maps) are only accessible via a locked gate. Keys and permits to access these areas are available from the NPWS Narrabri Area office.
Protecting the environment
While riding in the park, always keep horses on formed tracks to ensure sensitive environments such as bogs, moss beds, herb fields and stream banks or areas containing Aboriginal and European heritage artefacts and sites are not damaged.
If tracks are damaged or dangerous please inform NPWS staff.
No horse riding is allowed to occur in wet weather or after rain periods as riding in wet areas can cause soil erosion and damage the track surface
Never allow horses to graze on small trees and shrubs as these can be easily killed.
When crossing riparian areas or waterways or when watering horses use established crossing points such as causeways on management trails and service roads Please slow horses to a walk to reduce erosion, bank damage and water pollution.
Secure horses at least 50 metres from stream banks unless otherwise directed by park staff.
Meeting other park users
Kaputar Road is a public road and all users of this road are subject to the NSW road rules. Horses being ridden on the road are considered vehicles under NSW and national law and as such are subject to the road rules.
NPWS Narrabri Area does not recommend riding on Kaputar Road as it is steep, narrow, winding and has poor visibility for oncoming traffic. If you do choose to ride on this road, obey all road rules and it is recommended that:
- high visibility clothing is worn
- horses are ridden in single file
- keep to groups of 8 or less
- maintain at least 30 metres between groups.
Riders may occasionally meet bush walkers, cyclists and others that are unfamiliar with horses and unsure about passing them on the track. Please give way to all pedestrians and wait until they are safely past before continuing.