Access to off-track walking may be under threat in the Flinders Ranges and beyond – Pastoral Act Review

Maybe a slightly alarmist subject line, but possibly the case. Walkers ability to access pastoral leases may change, with changes to the way pastoral leaseholders are allowed to manage the land, read on.

The info below has been provided by Walking SA, and is being sent to members of the Friends of the Heysen Trail so they have the information, and can then completed the survey if they have the interest. (many sections of the survey will not be applicable to walkers, so answer “no comment” where applicable). A thorough survey response might take 20-30mins. At the bottom of this email is a table of relevant questions from the survey. The closing date for comments has been extended to 5pm Monday 30 September 2019.

This is of keen interest to FoHT members who undertake extra-circular walks further north, and for any planned FoHT northern trips away. The Friends are with Walking SA in wanting to retain the right to walk through the pastoral country as has been our right since settlement. Sure there will likely be some areas with no, or restricted, access to allow for tourism, cultural sensitivities, or mining activities, yet this should not restrict activity outside those limited, defined areas.

Review of Pastoral Act may impact access for recreational bushwalkers in the Flinders Ranges

What is the issue?

The State Government is seeking input in order to review the Pastoral Act.

Much of the land in the Flinders Ranges north of Hawker is not private freehold land but instead is leased from the State Government to pastoralists to undertake grazing ventures[i], and recognises the rights of Aboriginal people.

As the land is leased, people can undertake recreational off-trail bushwalking in these remote locations. They must notify the lessee of their intentions to walk, and the lessee can only deny access in certain scenarios.

To clarify, by “off-trail bushwalking” we often mean following old vehicle tracks, or walking in a low impact environment, and can include camping for a few nights.

The Act also provides what are called Public Access Routes (PARs), which are often used by 4WDers for recreational use. They will likely probably remain, but our concerns are for access to other lands not part of PARs.

How could changes to Pastoral Act impact on recreational bushwalking? What are our concerns?

Heysen Trail closure through the Buckaringa Sanctuary, Friday 13th September to Monday 16th September 2019.

Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby at Buckaringa Wildlife Sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges.

The Buckaringa Sanctuary will be temporarily closed during the second weekend in mid September . 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 13th September to Monday morning 16th September 2019.

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.

Trail Development News, Bulletin 11, August 2019

An update on recent new trail infrastructure and trail maintenance work undertaken by our vital volunteers. Below is a schedule of maintenance events – new volunteers welcome, an update on Little Mt Crawford trail, trail work north of Wilpena Pound, volunteer training and the new Black Jack Cabin.

Our volunteers undertake installation of infrastructure and trail maintenance work. All equipment, including personal protection equipment, is provided by The Friends. New volunteers are welcome to join in to improve the Heysen Trail – you don’t have to be an expert handy person. Volunteers will be allocated tasks to match their level of competence and confidence. If required, specific training can be arranged.

Refer to the Volunteer Support Policy for information on recognition of volunteers as well as reimbursement of expenses. To register your interest in any of these events, please see the Maintenance events on the Walk Calendar on our website.

Calendar of Maintenance Events

Regular maintenance days are held at our Cobbler Creek facility, off Bridge Road Salisbury East in Cobbler Creek Recreation Park. Volunteers are welcome to join in. You don’t have to be an expert handy person.

Please register online or via the office so we can anticipate numbers and plan jobs.

August
Thurs 29th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
September
Thurs 5th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 12th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Wed 18th – Sun 22nd E2E Maintenance Wilpena to Parachilna Part 2 to carry on and complete unfished work from Part 1, install realignment at the Wilpena Information Centre, scope the siting for a tank near Bunyeroo Gorge and replace the tank at Stoney Creek. In addition, we may install a platform at Wilmington, on Cemetery Road West.
Thurs 19th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 26th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
October
Thurs 3rd The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 10th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Fri 11th – Sun 13th E2E Maintenance Greenock to Tothill Gap
Thurs 17th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 24th The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek
Thurs 31st The Friends Shed Maintenance Day – Cobbler Creek

Realignment of Heysen Trail at Little Mt Crawford

“Well Mt. Crawford wasn’t as bad as we were expecting, and the steps to stop us slipping were sensational!” (Posted by Janette Cheesman)

Julian Monfries reported that on Thursday 22nd August, the trail over Little Mount Crawford was realigned taking it along the spine of that feature. The trail was cleared with the help of our new chainsaw operatives, Adam Matthews and Mark Curtis, assisted by a fine team of volunteers.

Having completed this task, the team moved onto Grandpa’s Camp to install a platform. Thanks to the chainsaw boys (hands and legs intact), Neil Rivett, Peter Fosdike, and Robin Sharland. Led by Julian Monfries, appreciation is also given to apprentices Colin Edwards, Paul Bond and Dom Henschke.

Photo: “Well Mt. Crawford wasn’t as bad as we were expecting, and the steps to stop us slipping were sensational!” (Posted by Janette Cheesman)

End to End Maintenance working north of Wilpena

Neil Nosworthy reported that on 14th – 15th August, seven volunteers worked on the trail heading north from Wilpena Resort. We met the E2E9 walkers who were finishing the trail, and this enabled us to promote the volunteer opportunities within the Friends particularly the maintenance activities.

While the trail was generally in good condition, there were some areas around Bunyeroo Creek which had been identified as a problem. These have now been addressed. In addition, we were able to bring parts of the trail up to current standards by replacing about 30 old pipe markers and 20 marker posts attached to star pickets. Also, we were able to install the third trail counter.

However, there is still more to be done in the section to Parachilna Gorge.

Thanks to Graham Loveday, Robert Alcock, Gavin Campbell, Dean Mortimer, Wayne Turner and Adrian Rogers for their hard work.

Training for Volunteers

Paul Bond reports that recent training courses funded by the Department for the Environment and Water have resulted in the following:

  • 10 volunteers completing the Department for the Environment and Water’s Section Leader Induction
  • 11 volunteers completing a Basic 4 Wheel Drive Course
  • 4 volunteers completing a Remote Area First Aid course
  • 6 volunteers completing a Chainsaw Operation course

Other volunteers who have previously showed interest in training opportunities will be offered further courses later in the year as soon as the Department’s funding ability has been clarified.

Please direct any enquiries to Paul Bond: 0401 123 391 bond.paulbond7@gmail.com

New Cabin at Black Jack (near Burra)

The cabin at Cobbler Creek

Paul Bond writes: Situated north east from Burra, Black Jack campsite, can be most inhospitable whenever the weather turns cold, wet and windy as it often does during the walking season. Walkers can now seek comfort in a newly placed cabin and redeveloped site.

In October 2018, a cabin at Urrbrae Wetlands became surplus to requirements following the development of new infrastructure. It was donated to the Friends of the Heysen Trail. A contractor was engaged to dismantle the roof and take it to the Friend’s shed at Cobbler Creek. City Crane Trucks were then contracted to move the shell of the cabin to Cobbler Creek, with all work completed in November 2018.

From January to May 2019, the cabin was renovated by the regular shed maintenance group. It saw window replacement, general repairs, painting inside and out, and 6 bunks fitted.

Footings installed at the Black Jack campsite

During that time, there was much consideration given to where on the trail the cabin should be located, taking into consideration accessibility by truck, appropriate spacing from other huts on the trail and visibility from public roads or picnic areas to mitigate risk of vandalism. It was determined that Black Jack was the site that best fitted these criteria.

In May, a small team installed concrete footings for the cabin and in late June, City Crane Trucks transported the cabin and craned it onto the footings. Over the next 2 days, a maintenance crew re-erected the roof and entry steps and relocated the camp platform, which had been installed next to the old shelter.

During July, the installation has been completed, including a trial of solar lighting with capacity for recharging mobile phones. It will be interesting to see how effective this relatively inexpensive item proves to be.

Cabin being craned onto the footings at the Black Jack campsite

Cabin in position with roof on

Overall, Black Jack is now a well-equipped site, with the newly placed cabin, camp platform and fire pit complementing the old shelter, rainwater tank and toilet. Future work will see a rainwater tank installed and plumbed to serve the sink inside the cabin.

This was achieved through some 300 volunteer hours and the expenditure of some $5,000 of funds which was raised from membership and walk fees.

Acknowledgement: The following have contributed volunteer hours to the renovation and relocation of the cabin: Colin Edwards, Tai Lim, Neil Rivett, Rick Price, Colin Rozman, Julian Monfries, Daniel Jardine, Paul Bond, Daniel Peter, Andrew Fosdike and Dom Henschke. Hermann Schmidt and Arnulf Mollenhauer displayed great craftsmanship in constructing the bunks.

Tanks-the unreliable water supply for walkers

One of the many tanks along the trail installed and maintained by the Friends of the Heysen Trail

Heysen Trail walkers are reminded that in some locations on the trail, the supply of water can’t be guaranteed

Walkers, especially through walkers, need to be aware that water and its quality cannot be guaranteed along the Trail.

Whilst we endeavour to have up to date information on water levels on all our tanks, due to the remote location of some, this is not always possible.

Be prepared

  1. Plan for your walk, by checking the location of tanks along the trail

    There are approximately 70 publicly accessible water tanks and supply points along the trail, not including addition sources in the towns the trail passes. Generally you will pass at least one water point a day.

    You can find a list of these water sources in the Accommodation list on the Friends website. By conducting a ‘Water tank’ & ‘Water only location’ search on that page, you will find the water points along your intended route.

  2. Look at what other walkers have reported about each of the water supplies.

    Read any comments that have made by other walkers about the tanks and campsites. You will find them at the bottom of each page of the  campsite and tank tank location description.

    As the trail heads into the more remote and arid areas in the north, the water supply is less reliable. Read what other walkers have posted recently and as a back up, carry enough water to last into the next day if you’re unsure.

Send us reports on the condition of tanks, campsites and the trail.

You can help other walkers and our Office volunteers keep a track of water supplies. Tell us about tank water levels and quality in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section on the relevant Accommodation listing.

If you see maintenance work that needs attention, you can also report that to our Trail Development team. Post a comment and we will get the problem assessed and fixed as soon as possible.

If you have any questions or information that will assist us in maintaining the trail, you can also contact the Friend’s Office.

We trust this will help you and fellow walkers enjoy the trail.

The Friends welcome Joshua West as a new Ambassador for the Heysen Trail.

The Friends of the Heysen Trail are pleased to announce that Joshua West (also known as Trekking West)  has accepted our invitation to act as a voluntary Ambassador for the Heysen Trail.

Josh joined the Friends prior to his journey through-walking the Heysen in 2018. His main aim in doing so was to raise awareness and funds for the Black Dog Institute.

During the walk he shared his photos, videos and experiences via Facebook and a daily blog on his website.

His blog continues to be available to inspire and help others who are encouraged to walk the trail.

Relive Josh’s Heysen Trek

Josh’s Daily Diary reports are descriptive and contain some wonderful photos of his adventure on the trail. Read from the comfort of an armchair, they will put you in the boots of an inspirational Heysen Trail walker.

Josh is not one to rest after his Heysen achievement, He is currently walking the Camino de Santiago.

As an Ambassador for the Heysen, Josh will continue to promote walking this fabulous long-distance trail. The Friends appreciate his support in meeting our goals of expanding  interest, knowledge and engagement with the trail.

In addition to the Friends website, anyone with a desire to explore long-distance Heysen hiking can check out Josh’s detailed information at www.trekkingwest.com/

Heysen Trail closure – Caroona Creek Conservation Park: June 4-7 2019.

Caroona Creek Conservation Park : www.visitburra.com

The Heysen Trail through the Caroona Creek Conservation Park will be closed from 6.00 am Tuesday 4th June to 6.00 pm on Friday 7th June, 2019. We advise walkers to avoid the area during this period.

Parks SA has advised us that the purpose of the closure of the entire conservation park is to protect public safety during an Aerial feral animal control program.

The Caroona Creek Conservation Park is located approximately 40 kms north of Burra between Newikie Creek and the Dares Hill Summit Road.

Other park closures

Other parks affected by the closure are:

  • Red Banks Conservation Park
  • Mimbara Banks Conservation Park
  • Hopkins Creek Conservation Park

If you have any enquiries about the control program or the park closures, please contact the Natural Resources Centre Northern and Yorke on (08) 8841 3400.

You can find further information on the Parks SA Alerts page.

Heysen Trail closure through the Buckaringa Sanctuary, Friday 31st May to Monday 3 June 2019.

Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby at Buckaringa Wildlife Sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges.

The Buckaringa Sanctuary will be temporarily closed this weekend. 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 31st May to Monday morning 3rd June 2019.

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.

Animals are Cute, especially New Born Lambs

Please don’t interfere with livestock.

We all know how cute young animals are, especially new born lambs frolicking after their mums.

It can be distressing for walkers on the Heysen Trail to see what look like abandoned  lambs, wandering along the trail.

It is tempting to “rescue” them! Please don’t!

Rarely do the mothers abandon their young, however if you pick them up, they almost certainly will.

Please leave all livestock alone when hiking the Heysen Trail.

Trail Development volunteers putting your walk fees to work.

Trail Development – the Hallett Railway Station Hut makeover – April 2019

Trail Development volunteers at work improving facilities on the Heysen Trail.

While the fire danger season limits the Friends’ of the Heysen Trail walking activities, over summer Trail Development volunteers have been putting your walk fees to work.

The Trail Development Committee has been planning and undertaking a range of projects along the trail to improve facilities and add to your walking experiences. This necessary work was undertaken by volunteers using funds raised from the Friends’ membership subscriptions and walk fees.

Makeover of the Hallett Railway Station Hut

Peter Simons (Trail Infastructure Co-ordinator) and a dedicated team of volunteers have recently completed a major project at Hallett.

A year or so ago the ceiling of the hut was collapsing and the hut was in need of lot of work. As you can see from the photo above, the ceiling has been replaced, a new combustion heater has been fitted, a stainless steel sink has been installed and the hut has been repainted.

Toilet installed at Bundaleer Weir campsite

The new toilet at Bundaleer Weir campsite.

In March another group under the direction of Colin Edwards (Trail Development Co-ordinator) and Peter Simons installed a new toilet at the Bundaleer Weir campsite.

We were very fortunate to have had assistance from Mr Rob Hammat the landowner on the adjoining property. Without the use of his digger, the working party may still be there digging holes – the earth was rock hard!.

It is great to get assistance such as that from Mr Hammat (as we also do from many other enthusiastic landholders).

This is the first of three toilets constructed at the Cobbler Creek shed. We expect Bundaleer Weir will be a popular stopover for independent walkers and also our End to End groups. Plans are underway to install the other two toilets. More news on that later

Camping benches/platforms installed at Wandallah and Webb Gap campsites.

Wandallah shelter and new camping bench – Feb 2019

In February the first two of ten camping benches that have been constructed at Cobbler Creek were also installed.

The benches are for sitting, sorting and cheffing!

For day walkers a nice place to sit for morning tea or lunch.

For through walkers a place off the ground to spread and sort their gear and cook.

The benches make for a bit of comfort along the trail – as you can see, there wasn’t a lot else nearby to choose from.

They are not meant as a sleeping platform.

 

Are you interested in assisting with Trail Development?

If you want to assist with any Trail Development activities including the Friends’ Shed Days or upcoming ‘End to End’ Trail Maintenance trips, you can check the events listed on the Friends Walk Calendar

Book Launch: Heysen Highlights Sunday 14 April

During this Sunday's Hiking Expo we'll be officially launching our Heysen Highlights book

During this Sunday’s Hiking Expo in Belair National Park we’ll be officially launching our Heysen Highlights: A companion guide to the Heysen Trail book.

The book will be launched by John Schutz, Chief Executive of Department for Environment and Water, as part of the Hiking Expo ceremonies at 12noon.

Author Simon Cameron will be on hand to sign any copies purchased on the day. Simon joined the Friends of the Heysen Trail in 2001, the same year that he started walking the Trail. He has never stopped walking it. As anyone who has had the joy of walking with Simon will known, there is so much to see and so much to discover along the Trail that there never will be a reason to stop.

In this companion guide the Heysen Trail is broken into 58 sections, for each day there is an overview of what to expect and what to look out for when hiking. By explaining the historical context, of the Aboriginal people, European explorers and settlers and the development of the trail, walkers can enrich their experience of the trail and its landscape.