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

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.

There is a National parks & Wildlife Service sign at the end of Valley Rd (Montacute Conservation Park) informing people that there is no thoroughfare through Montacute CP to Forestry SA property along the Heysen Trail.

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.

The last closure for this operation will be held on Monday June 1st to Friday June 5th.

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