Heysen Trail closure through the Buckaringa Sanctuary, Friday 10th July to Tuesday 14th July 2020.

The Buckaringa Sanctuary will be temporarily closed in the coming week. As the Heysen Trail passes through the sanctuary, we advise walkers to consider the closure if planning to walk in the area.

The planned closure is:

  • Friday evening 10th July to Tuesday morning 14th July 2020.

The closure is because the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) will be undertaking feral animal control in the sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to many Yellow-footed Rock-wallabies.

The sanctuary is located between Quorn and Hawker. You can find it on map 6, chapter 4, of the Heysen Trail Northern Guidebook and on Sheet Map 7b – Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park to Mernmerna Creek.

AWC will place closure signs at all entry points to the sanctuary to warn walkers of the danger.

The Friend’s office has moved and the online store is now open

Shop/office location: Suite 203, Epworth Building, 33 Pirie St, Adelaide SA 5000

Our office has moved next door
On Friday, June 5th, the Friends office moved into larger premises just down the corridor to;

Suite 203, 2nd Floor,
33 Pirie Street, Adelaide SA 5000

Apart from our address, all our other contact details remain the same.

Our office remains in the Epworth Building, Pirie Street, adjacent to the Adelaide City Council offices.

The office remains closed to the public

While we are settling into the new premises, the office will remain closed to the public for the time being.

Our volunteers are returning to duty after an extended break and need time to familiarise themselves with our upgraded registration system and the new surroundings.

So, if you need any assistance, the best way to contact us is by phone or email.

You can find our phone number, email address, and volunteer attendance hours on the Contact page of our website.

The Friends online shop is back in full swing

We are easing restrictions imposed under our COVID-19 response, so the Friends online shop has returned to full operation.

With recent improvements made to our website, you can now undertake these transactions online:

Of course, as our number of walks on our walk programme increases, you can register for walks online.

The Heysen Trail is open for through walkers and camping … BUT the Cudlee Creek fire has caused a problem…

With the easing of COVID-19 health restrictions on May 11th, the campsites and huts along the Heysen Trail are now open to ‘through’ walkers.

The easing of restrictions means that the trail is now open for small group walks. Currently, under Step 1 of the SA Government Road Map to Recovery bushwalking is permitted, provided the group size and social distancing advice is observed.

Additionally, through walkers need to keep informed while they are on the trail. The COVID situation may change while they are on the trail and this could affect their ability to continue to walk. This particularly applies to walkers from interstate, as border crossing arrangements may change from time to time.

Before setting off on walks on the Heysen Trail, you need to be aware of the following issues:

1. Trail closure caused by the Cudlee Creek bushfire

Forestry SA has closed access to the Heysen Trail in the vicinity of Cudlee Creek, with the affected section shown on this exclusion zone map.

It covers sections of the following maps:

Heysen Trail Sheet Maps 2B & 2C and
Southern Guidebook Map 3.6.

The exclusion zone commences at the eastern exit of Montacute Conservation Park (Grid Ref 983 377) and concludes when the trail leaves Forestry property at Snake Gully Rd (GR 014 402).

Due to the location of the trail in relation to the extensive exclusion zone, finding an alternative route is presenting some difficulties. The travel restrictions caused by COVID-19 have further delayed the task. However, our Trail Development Team is attempting to find a way, but it may be some time before a re-route is approved.

All walkers are advised to avoid the area. Trail closure signs have been erected by Forestry SA. Any walker planning to walk the whole trail this year, including through Cudlee Creek should email the Friends Office to seek advice on alternative arrangements. One option would include taking vehicular transport to avoid the area.

Unfortunately the excluded area includes Grandpa’s campsite, which is now closed. Due to the extent of the fire zone and the danger of falling trees, we do not anticipate the campsite being available for several months, if at all during 2020.

As a result of this closure, there is no campsite between Woodhouse and Scotts Shelter, a distance of 76 kms. Through walkers should be aware of this, and plan accordingly. Refer to the Service Directory and Transport  for planning information.

2. On Line Bookings for Forestry SA campsites

Forestry SA has initiated an on line booking system for the following campsites along the trail:

3. Temporary closure of the Montacute Conservation park

Parks SA have advised that the Montacute Conservation Park will be closed from 6pm, Sunday 31 May until 6pm Friday 5 June 2020 for a feral pest control program. Heysen Trail walkers need to avoid the area during this period.

4. Correction to the website accommodation list – camping is not permitted in the Finniss Conservation Park

Parks SA have also advised us that the old campsite in the Finniss Conservation Park was incorrectly shown in the accommodation list as being available for camping. The campsite was closed some years ago in the interest of protecting the park.

5. Tanks – take care if you are relying on them for your water supplies

Over summer we have become aware that several of the tanks along the trail require maintenance. Due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, we have been unable to travel to these remote locations to fix/replace the tanks.

Fortunately, indications are that we can anticipate good winter rains. However, the supply of water in our tanks cannot be guaranteed.

So, if the walk you are planning includes Beetaloo Creek or Eyre Depot we suggest you carry additional water or arrange a water drop.

The Friends modified walk program to start around mid June

Last year we started walking the Heysen Trail as a family again, but this time with children of my own

Easing of restrictions will allow gradual reintroduction of walks

The Friends Council appreciates your ongoing support during the Covid 19 restriction period.  The latest SA Government announcement about a slight easing of some restrictions is welcome, although we will remain vigilant in protecting the health and safety of our volunteers and members.

Council has supported a recommendation from the Chair of the Walking Committee to adopt appropriate guidelines that will assist us to revive small group walking over the next few weeks.  Walk leaders will be consulted about suitable loop walks with the view to ease into a modified program around the middle to late June after finalising any practical steps.

Extra responsibilities of walkers

Members attending walks will be expected to

  • register online
  • take responsibility for their own and others health by adhering to the current social distancing requirements; and
  • stay away if they have any cough, cold or fever symptoms.

End-to-End 2020 programme remains cancelled

Council’s decision to cancel our End to End walks for this year (and subsequently confirmed in the April news item) has not been rescinded.

Golden Boots passes extended

To acknowledge the patience of our members during the Covid restrictions, Council has decided to extend expiry dates for Golden Boots passes by 12 months.

Trail maintenance

We are also looking at how to recommence volunteer trail maintenance and will notify members when we have confirmed those arrangements.

Office relocation and reopening

During this period the Friends is also moving office to a larger space just next door.  The office will remain closed until the relocation has been completed.  Council has decided it is safer for our team if we get the new space organised before opening up again.

See you on the trail

We appreciate your patience as we gradually ease back into operation, and look forward to seeing you back on the trail.

Melanie Sjoberg,
President

Mid North Park closures affect Heysen Trail – May 24th to June 1st 2020.

Heysen Trail walkers are advised that a number of parks in the Mid North will be closed from 6am Sunday May 24th until 6am Monday, June 1st 2020.

The park closures that will affect Heysen Trail walkers are:

  • Caroona Creek Conservation Park
  • Hopkins Creek Conservation Park

The parks will be closed for the purpose of undertaking a pest control program. Walkers will not be able to access the Heysen Trail in and adjacent to the parks during this period.

The parks are located south and north of Burra. Affected sections of the trail can be found on

  • Heysen Trail Map Sheets 3D, 4A & 4B and
  • Southern Guide Book Maps 5.10, 6.4 and 6.5

For more information about the control program or the park closures, please refer to the Parks Closure notice or contact the Natural Resources Centre Northern and Yorke on (08) 8841 3400.

Unfortunately we received late notification of this closure. When planning walks on the trail we recommend you check the Parks Alerts page to check whether parks that you intend to visit will be affected by a closure.

Announcement: Friends Walks and Events cancelled due to COVID-19

The Friends of the Heysen Trail is disappointed to announce an extension to the cancellation of planned activities beyond 31 May 2020.

Sadly, in light of ongoing public health requirements, the Friends Council and Executive has made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel all the following activities:

Walking:

  • End to End Walk Program for 2020;
  • Group walks using buses: Lavender/Willunga Basin/Yurrebilla/Yorke Peninsula; and
    • Except that the October South Coast Walk will be reviewed mid-year.
  • Trailstarter/Trailwalker program.

Trail Development

  • Trail Development infrastructure projects;
  • Section Leader Trail Maintenance; and
  • Friends Shed work.

Office

  • Remain closed until further notice;
  • Online shop will cease for map and book sales;
  • Membership Subscriptions and Renewals will continue to be processed.

Trailwalker

  • Production of pdf only version will continue until restrictions are removed.

We share the frustration and regret that walks and trail work plans had to be adjusted.

Depending on progress around the current public health risks and any announced reduction in community isolation practices, the Friends may be able to revive some of our local Trailstarter/Trailwalker and/or trail development work later in the year.  The website will be updated if that occurs.

Prescribed Burn in Hale Conservation Park – week commencing 20th April 2020.

Heysen Trail walkers are advised that the Hale Conservation Park will be closed for several days over the week commencing Monday, 20th April 2020.

The closure will be for the purpose of DEW undertaking a prescribed burn. The burn off is most likely be held on Friday April 24th, but this may vary due to weather conditions.  The closure may affect walkers in the vicinity of the Mount Crawford Forest. The Hale Conservation Park is approx. 4 kms west of the Heysen Trail at Mt Crawford. You can find the park on Map 3.9 of the Southern Guidebook and Heysen Trail Mapsheet 2C.

Rangers will post closure signs the day before the burn on the trail coming from the Warren Conservation Park. On the day of the burn, additional signs will be posted for the two loop walks within the  Hale Conservation Park.

The Heysen Trail remains closed during the Fire Danger Season

Walkers are reminded that the Heysen Trail south of Wirrabara remains closed during the Fire Danger Season. The season ends at midnight on April 30th. Walkers can use the Heysen Trail in Parks and Forest Reserves during the fire season, except on days of total fire bans.

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.