Heysen Trail open for day walking only after Fire Danger Season ends in April

Heysen Trail open for Day Walking only after Fire Danger Season ends.

The Department of Environment and Water  has advised that in general, South Australian parks and reserves are open to local day visitors, as long as all State and Federal Government advice is followed in relation to COVID-19.

All campgrounds and communal facilities in SA parks have been closed, along with hut and homestead accommodation.

Camping and accommodation is also closed in ForestrySA Reserves, but day visitors following government advice are welcome.

The Heysen Trail remains closed during the Fire Danger Season.

You can find out further information about the trail closure dates on our Fire Danger Season page.

Upon completion of the Fire Danger Season the Heysen Trail will be open to day walkers only, (no camping or hut use until further notice).

This is the Government’s latest position and countermands any previous advice the Friends may have given.

For further information visit www.parks.sa.gov.au and www.forestrysa.com.au

The Friends of Heysen Trail hope you stay safe and healthy during this challenging time. We encourage ongoing fitness by walking in your local area, subject to current restrictions about isolation and maximum of 2 people.

Please also respect our regional communities by staying away to limit the spread of COVID-19 and preserve their limited health services.

Bookings for End to End 15 suspended

UPDATE IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19

The first End to End 15 walk which was to be held on Saturday May 9th 2020 has been cancelled.

Bookings for End to End 15 walks which were due to open on Monday March 23rd 2020 have been suspended.

This walk is one of a number of events that have been cancelled by the Friends as a part of our response to COVID-19.

Refer to the FOHT – Response to COVID-19 news item which issued on March 19th for further information.

Further updates will be posted on our website in due course.

FOHT – Response to COVID-19

Announcement: All Friends events cancelled until the end of May 2020

Dear Members and Volunteers

FOHT has been monitoring the rapidly changing developments arising from the pandemic announcement for Coronavirus COVID-19 and especially the need to adhere to public health requirements issued by the Federal and State Governments.

As a member-based organisation that relies on the active support of our dedicated volunteers, we are most focused on the health, safety and wellbeing of our members and volunteers.  We have considered the public health requirements about social distancing as well as the related issue of avoiding non-essential activity and our specific demographic. We also wanted to make clear decisions that allow lead in time for our volunteer Walk and Maintenance Coordinators to organise necessary changes to programmed events.

The Friends Council has made the difficult decision to cancel ALL FOHT events: this includes all walks in our program, all trail maintenance trips and section work, all face-to-face meetings and to close the office.  This will have effect immediately until 31 May 2020. We recognise that the public health requirements may continue to change so Council has established a small response group to review the COVID-19 situation as it evolves and update members should changes occur.

Action from hereon:

  • Walk and Maintenance Leaders will contact groups about any specific details.
  • The Office will continue to be monitored by a small team of willing volunteers to ensure emails, phone and shop are managed.
  • Finance team will generally manage the bookkeeping by remote access.
  • We will apply the usual refund policy where members are already booked and paid on walks. If this affects you, you will not need to contact the Office. Please allow us 2 weeks to complete  your  refund.
  • Our Council and Committees will organise through email and phone discussion as needed.

Advice to our members

We encourage you to individually get out walking in nature for your own physical and mental well-being and where it aligns with the current public health requirements.

  • Practice social distancing i.e. keep at least 1.5m away from others;
  • Increase hand hygiene by washing with soap & water after sneezing, coughing, toilet and contact with doors, benches etc.
  • Dispose of tissues safely.
  • Use email and phone communication.
  • Stay home if you are unwell.

These decision will create challenges for the Friends and our partner bus companies, as the current situation is damaging many small businesses.  Please consider renewing your membership to continue to support the Friends and the Heysen Trail.

If you have any questions or concerns

Please email the office if you have any specific questions.  We will appreciate your patience as we may take longer than usual to respond.

This is an unusual time but mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 virus to protect community health is critical. You may find the following sites useful in monitoring developments:

Melanie Sjoberg
President

Urgent Announcement – Postponement of Friends Annual General Meeting

In response to Covid 19 health provisions for social distancing and to avoid non-essential gatherings, the Friends Council has decided to postpone the Annual General Meeting that was scheduled on Friday 20 March 2020.

A new date will be notified when the public health situation becomes clear.

Announcements about other events will be made in the next day or so.

Cudlee Creek fire damages the Heysen Trail and other popular walking areas in the Adelaide Hills.

 

The fire ground east of Snake Gully Road, Cudlee Creek.

Heysen Trail to be re-routed around the Cudlee Creek fireground, including Grandpas campsite.

As we are all aware the recent bushfire at Cudlee Creek has caused significant damage to the forest area. As a result, Forestry SA  has closed the Cudlee Creek Forest Reserve, which includes Thomas Hill and Mount Misery to the public for safety reasons.

The Heysen Trail traverses part of the forest from Snake Gully Road through to Stone Hut Road. A temporary reroute has been plotted but has not as yet been approved  by FSA and DEW. We hope to have this finalised prior to the opening of the walk season but until then we are required to avoid the area.

When the re-route has been established we will publish it on our re-routes page. Due to the amount of work to be undertaken in the area, it may be a number of months before we can return the trail to the normal route.

This CFS Map shows the extent of the Cudlee Creek Forest exclusion zone. Please refer to it before walking in the area and abide by all signage.

Grandpas campsite is within the fire exclusion zone and will remain closed until further notice.  Some of the infrastructure at the campsite including the rainwater tank has been damaged and will require replacement.

Temporary closure of the Montacute Conservation Park

Fortunately the nearby Montacute Conservation Park was not affected by the fire. However, Parks SA have advised that the park is currently closed for the purposes of a feral animal eradication program. In the interest of public safety, we advise walkers not to enter the park. Parks have posted closure notices at the entrances to the park.

We expect the park to be closed at least until mid March 2020.

You can get more information on the closure, including any changes to the park closure date on the Parks SA Alert page.

Heysen Trail Closure – Southern Flinders Ranges – 22nd to 28th February 2020.

Heysen Trail walkers are advised that the following parks in the Southern Flinders Ranges will be closed from 6am Saturday, 22 February 2020 until 6pm Friday, 28 February 2020:

  • Telowie Gorge Conservation Park,
  • The Napperby Block of Mount Remarkable National Park,
  • Spaniards Gully Conservation Park and
  • Wirrabara Range Conservation Park

Walkers will not be able to access the Heysen Trail in these parks during this period.

The parks will be closed for the purpose of undertaking a pest control program. Walkers need to take note of this closure and avoid that section of the trail during those dates.

Heysen Trail closure during the Fire Danger Season

The Country Fire Service has already announced the commencement of the Fire Danger Season for the Mid North & Flinders Districts.  As a result, much of the Heysen Trail is already closed.

Some sections of the Heysen Trail may be open during the Fire Danger Season – principally those not on private land. The areas that are open (other than on total fire ban days) include Conservation Parks and Reserves, Forests, public roads and vacant land.

The closure of these conservation parks later this week therefore places additional restrictions on walkers.

Telowie Gorge Conservation park

You can get a further explanation about access to the Heysen Trail during the fire season from our Fire Danger Season webpage.

Please that the Friend’s website will be undergoing maintenance for a few days from early on Tuesday February 18th 2020. If you want to read about the fire danger season but the webpage is not available, please try again later.

For more information about the control program or park closure, please contact the Natural Resources Centre on (08) 8841 3400. Further information can be found on the Parks SA Alerts page.

Announcement of the Friends’ 33rd AGM

To be held on Friday March 20th 2020

You are invited to attend the 33rd Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Heysen Trail and Other Walking Trails Inc. The meeting will be held at 7.30 pm on Friday March 20th 2020. The venue will be the Woodville Lawn Bowling Club, Oval Avenue, Woodville.

We are seeking nominations from you, our members, for election to the Friends Council at the AGM. There are vacancies in the following positions:

  • Vice President,
  • Secretary,
  • Treasurer and
  • half of the remaining members.

Our Constitution calls for not less than four and no more than ten non office-bearing members.

Our guest speaker will be a double act this year, Paul Nicholas and Eric Felgate. They managed the restoration and renovation of many of the iconic huts along the Trail including Mayo, Marschalls and Curnows with the help of men from Uniting Communities men’s shelters. This is their story!

You will also hear about our Association’s activities in 2019 and plans for 2020.

Come along and meet your council (they are the people who make the decisions). Find out what we intend to do to further develop, maintain and promote the use of the Heysen and other walking trails.

If you are thinking of becoming more involved please check the information and nomination form that you find in the Autumn issue of the Trailwalker which will be issuing shortly.

Please bring a plate. The bar will be open for drinks. Coffee and tea will be available.

AGM Agenda

  1. Apologies
  2. Acceptance of Minutes of the previous AGM held on March 22nd 2019.
  3. President’s Report
  4. Financial Report
  5. Election of Officers
    1. Vice President
    2. Secretary
    3. Treasurer
    4. Council Members
  6.  Appointment of the Auditor
  7.  Election of Honorary Members
  8.  Other Business
  9.  Close Meeting

Any member wishing to move a motion at the AGM should be aware of the Constitutional requirements:

‘Notice of any such motion proposed to be moved at a General Meeting by any member not being a member of the Council shall be signed by the proposer and seconder and shall be delivered to the Secretary at least seven days before the meeting. No motion moved by any member other than a member of the Council shall be entertained by the meeting unless notice thereof has been given as aforesaid.’

Trail Development News, No. 14 – Feb. 2020

Our volunteers undertake installation of infrastructure and trail maintenance work. All equipment, including personal protection equipment, is provided by The Friends. Volunteers will be allocated tasks to match their level of competence and confidence. If required, specific training can be arranged.

See the Volunteer Support policy at https://heysentrail.asn.au/friends/policy/volunteer-support-policy/ for information on recognition of volunteers as well as reimbursement of expenses.  For more information, and to register your interest in any of these events, please see the Walks Page on the Friends of the Heysen Trail web site.

Calendar of Maintenance Events

Regular Shed Maintenance days are held on Thursdays at our Cobbler Creek facility, off Bridge Road Salisbury East in Cobbler Creek Recreation Park.

You don’t have to be an expert handy person to join in.

Much of our work for the coming months will be manufacturing steelwork items requiring a different skill set including welding light steel sections. Much of our efforts will be learning and welding.

February
Thurs 20th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 27th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
March
Thurs 5th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 12th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 19th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 26th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
April
Thurs 2nd The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 9th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 16th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 16th to Sun 19th Eyre Depot Arden Creek Maintenance Trip
Fri 17th to Sun 19th Marschalls Hut project supported by E2E11
Thurs 23rd The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 30th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
May
Mon 11th to Fri 15th Hiskey Hut
Fri 15th to Sat 16th Remark trail – Buckaringa North to Willochra Creek

Date to be confirmed – Black Jack toilet rebuild

SECTION NEWS:

Eyre Depot Recce – Julian Monfries

With a trip looming in April to install a toilet, replace a tank and realign the route around the notorious Mt Arden waterfall, a group of volunteers ventured to Eyre Depot on February 7th and 8th to undertake a recce.

Lead by Simon Cameron, the section leader for the area, along with Colin Edwards and Julian Monfries a hurried trip north was undertaken.

Heavy rain the previous week made the drive to Wilkatana a bit hairy, with deep washaways, mud and clay to contend with.

Luckily, despite some damage to the access tracks on the drive from the Old Leigh Creek Road and the good graces of Andrew Smart, the manager of Wilkatana, in grading the roads, we got into Eyre Depot without too much anxiety.

The first task was to assess the route around the waterfall up Mount Arden Creek to avoid the steep, slippery descent above the waterfall heading north.

It was decided that a better alignment of the track higher up the ridge with a safer descent into the creek, beyond the waterfall, would be suitable for north walkers and the current route be used for south walkers.

The plan is to mark this in April this year with a team of volunteers (see following item).

Having established a plan to realign the Trail there, it was back to Eyre Depot to sort out access to the current tank and campsite for trailer and vehicles. The problem has been a deep washaway between the Eyre Depot gate and the current tank/campsite. Luckily, a short walk towards the range, a suitable path for vehicles and loaded trailers was found, requiring minimal effort to get to the worksite.

The tank at Eyre Depot had been reported as empty an inspection proved this was correct, and the culprit was determined to be a 2 cm hole in the base. This was especially disappointing as inspection in April last year showed it was full and the heavy rain the previous week which should have topped it up.

A site for the toilet was located and preparatory digging started as the soil was soft. It was remarkable how far the moisture has penetrated auguring well for final installation in April.

Having completed the recce the team headed home.

 

Mt Arden waterfall

Mt Arden waterfall

Mt Arden waterfall bypass, heading south

Mt Arden waterfall bypass, heading south

Simon digs a hole – Colin looks on.

Eyre Depot Arden Creek Maintenance Trip April 16th to 19th 2020  – Julian Monfries

Team Leader – Simon Cameron

Where – Eyre Depot staying at Wilkatana Shearers Quarters  – will need sleeping bags.

When – Thursday 16th April to Sunday 19th April

Inclusions – Evening meals each night

Exclusions – breakfast, lunches, nibbles and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and international air travel.

Plan   

Thursday        Drive up with two vehicles and two trailers carrying the new toilet, a replacement tank and a platform.  The loaded trailers will be collected from Cobblers Creek that morning.

Drive into Eyre Depot and deliver the trailers to the work site and if possible, install the tank, or the platform, or both. Some track work may be needed to access the site.

Friday            Split into track realignment team, and infrastructure team

The track realignment will take one 4WD to access the Trail up Arden Creek and walk in.

They will remark the Trail over the waterfall, with a new northern alignment, retaining the current route for southern walkers and mark appropriately.

The infrastructure team will complete the site work for installation of  the toilet, which includes completing the long drop excavation and installing the toilet frame etc.

Saturday          Complete the installation of the toilet, wall cladding, roofing, install a “modesty screen” and toilet tank.

Sunday             Drive home

Cudlee Creek Fire – Colin Edwards

We have been advised by Forestry SA (Andrew Moylan) that the recent bushfire at Cudlee Creek has left a significant number of trees near the Trail in a dangerous state, with the possibility of falling on windy days. FSA have requested that the trail south of Holland Creek Road be temporarily rerouted.

The reroute around this area has not as yet been agreed on. Temporary marking will be needed. As we have found in the past this will be in place certainly for the 2020 walking season. A call for volunteers will be posted on the web site to do the marking as soon as possible.

Actual damage to the trail is minimal with the main damage being to the tank shelter frame which will probably require a new structure. The new platform recently installed was not damaged.

Cobbler Creek Shed – Colin Edwards

Projects undertaken during 2019, the cabin renovation and installation at Black Jack, several long bench seats and other furniture required working mainly with timber. This year will be a change to mainly working with steel, needing cutting, grinding, welding etc. This is due to the expense and supply of timber, and, it is environmentally more acceptable.

For this work we will be using a mig welder which will mean tuition and supervision for the start of the year. This should not be too challenging. It is worth noting that our most proficient arc welder last year was a female and she supplied great cakes.

The 2020 work started at the shed on Feb 6th and will continue as before – every Thursday from 9am to 2pm as posted on the FOHT Walking Program.

2020 ProjectsColin Edwards

  • Complete and modify two toilet frames
  • Manufacture four tank shelters
  • Fence stiles in future will be steel frame. Manufacture ten for stock
  • Platforms are being redesigned but could be a mix of steel and timber. We  have budgeted to manufacture ten units

 Thanks,
Trail Development Committee

Easy membership renewals coming – we’re getting ready to upgrade our website

As a part the upgrade of our membership and walk registration system we will be temporarily suspending online walk registrations for a day or so.

What are we doing?

We are updating the software that we use to run the membership and walk registration system. These changes to the ‘back end’ are mainly going to affect our Office Volunteers and Walk Leaders, but the system will make it easier to renew your membership.

We’ve chosen a period of low demand to make the change. This will allow us to be ready for the period of increased website traffic during the walk season.

Will the change affect you?

Apart from the temporary reduction in services on our website, our members and frequent visitors won’t notice many changes.

Our website address will continue as https://heysentrail.asn.au.

After the upgrade, the Walk Calendar on the website will look slightly different. But the calendar will operate much the same as the one you are familiar with.

There will be a welcome change for anyone intending to register for our End to End 15 walk. Registrations for this and all other events will no longer have a set opening time of midnight. Bookings will generally open at 7am instead.

You can help make the change easy

Over the next week our Office Volunteers will be undertaking training in using the new system.

If you need to renew your membership or register for a walk, we ask you to use the existing website. It will be operating normally until late on Monday February 17th.

If you contact the Office before the shutdown, we may not be able to answer the phone immediately. For urgent enquiries, please send us an email which we will action it as soon as we can.

Last chance to buy your Friends of the Heysen Trail 2020 calendar.

We have limited copies of the Friends 2020 calendar.

If you haven’t got your copy yet, we still have copies available for $12.00. This is your last chance to admire the photography of the Heysen Trail trail submitted by members of the Friends and other walkers.

Get one for your wall at home or work. Use it to plan your walks and travel for 2020. Proceeds are used for the maintenance and further development of the trail.

Order from our On-line shop for delivery by post.

By ordering the calendar from our On-line shop you can request postage to an address in Australia or overseas.

Postage charges to any address within Australia (for a single copy) is an additional $4.80.

The Friends Office remains closed until 10.30 am on Tuesday February 4th.

Please note that our Office is closed until February 4th. A few volunteers will be making occasional visits to the Office to process on-line shop orders. While the Office is closed, we are not offering a ‘pick up’ service for calendar orders.