Heysen Trail at Cape Jervis – A Focus for Revegetation and Weed Control by the Warren Bonython Heysen Trail Foundation

The southern gateway to South Australia’s iconic Heysen Trail is located at Cape Jervis. The opening section of the Trail runs adjacent to the coast for approximately 10 kilometres before ascending to the Deep Creek Conservation Park at Blowhole Beach. Along this section walkers experience magnificent views across Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island, access to small rocky coves and patches of native scrub.

Significant flora include Eucalyptus porosa and Melaleuca lanceolata. Birds of conservation significance are the Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis), Eastern Reef Egret (Egretta sacra) and the Elegant Parrot (Neophema rubricollis).

Unfortunately, it is also the case that the coastal strip is severely degraded due to soil erosion, the activity of off-road vehicles and infestation by invasive plant species. There is a need to remediate this area to provide an attractive and welcoming experience for walkers that highlights the natural attributes of this area.

The Southern Fleurieu Coastal Action Plan and Conservation Priority Study, 2007 concluded that the beaches and lower slopes of Cape Jervis, Lands End and Fishery Beach were areas of high conservation value and were also facing a high level of threat.

It was identified that the area from Deep Creek CP to Morgans Beach (to the north of Cape Jervis) includes coastal reserves that have been successfully improved by community groups. Actions that would improve connection between vegetation blocks would greatly enhance the value of the area.

The section between Cape Jervis and Fishery Beach is the responsibility of a number of land management agencies including the District Council of Yankalilla, the Coastal Protection Board, community organisations and private land holders. The Council, under the auspices of its Coastal, Estuary and Marine Officer Corey Jackson and others, has made significant improvements including the establishment of an environmental hotspot between Lands End and Fishery Beach.

The gateway section is managed by the Council and the initial section from Cape Jervis to Lands End is managed by the Coastal Protection Board. Maintenance and re-vegetation activities have also been undertaken by group of dedicated volunteers led by Dr Carolyn Schultz, the Cape Jervis Coastal Community Group. COOTS (Conservation of our Threatened Species) a subgroup of the Australia Plant Society, manage the public lands just inland from the Heysen Trail, between Lands End and Fishery Beach.

The Warren Bonython Heysen Trail Foundation has identified the Heysen Trail gateway at Cape Jervis as a focus for greening activity and will allocate volunteer resources and grant funding, where successful, to facilitate this activity.

If you are interested in further information please contact Richard Trembath on 0438 762 122 or info@WBHeysenTrailFoundation.org.au.

Biodiversity threats in the area of interest are:

  • Western Coastal Wattle (Acacia cyclops)
  • Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides)
  • Creeping Saltbush (Atriplex prostrata)
  • Wild Oat (Avena barbata)
  • Perennial Veldt Grass (Ehrharta calycina)
  • False Caper (Euphorbia terracina)
  • African Boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum)
  • Soursob (Oxalis pescaprae)
  • Onion Weed (Asphodelus fistulosus)
  • Pincushion (Scabiosa atropurpurea)
  • Gazania (Gazania linearis)
  • Olive (Olea europaea)
  • Blue / sand lupin (Lupinus cosentinii)
  • Tufted Honey Flower (Melianthus comosus)
  • Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
  • Apple of Soddom (Solanum linnaeanum)

Installation of Trail Counters to Improve Data on Number of Walkers

Illustration of trackside placement

A disguised tracker unit

The Friends will be installing 3 TRAFx infrared trail counters along key sections of the Heysen Trail.

The devices count the number of trail uses giving us comprehensive data about trail use.

The TRAFx device is very compact with an unobtrusive design, which reduces risk of vandalism. They will be concealed to further prevent them being stolen or vandalised. It only uses standard AA alkaline batteries and has very long battery life.

Their placement location is yet to be decided, we’ll provide updates as we progress the planning and rollout.

In addition, there are similar trail counter in Warren Conservation Park, at the Watts Gully trailhead, which is monitored by the Walking Trails Support Group with data collated by Walking SA.

The Friend’s Trail Maintenance Shed Open Day – Saturday November 25, 2017.

Inside our Maintenance Shed at Cobbler Creek

Did you know the Friends of the Heysen Trail operates a Maintenance Shed at the Cobbler Creek Recreation Park?

Wondering what goes on behind the scenes of the Trail Development and Maintenance program?

Did you know we have a working partnership with the Work for the Dole scheme to produce toilets and platforms?

Come along to the Friend’s Shed Open Day

  • Find out more about the infrastructure and maintenance program.
  • Socialise with like-minded members, free BBQ and drinks on offer.

Details and how to register…

When       Saturday November 25 2017, 11.00am to 2.00pm.

Where    ‘The Shed’, Cobbler Creek Conservation Park, east of the intersection of Smith and Bridge Rds, Salisbury East.

All you need to bring is a chair and hat.  BBQ and drinks will be supplied

We have work ready to do now:

By Christmas we will have 3 new toilets and 15 camping platforms ready to install at a range of locations along the trail.

  • Are you interested in helping with the installation project? You don’t need to be highly skilled, although some lifting work may be involved.
  • Would you like to be notified of future maintenance events ( i.e. weekday or weekend trail trips, our End to End Maintenance weekends and shed work days)? We have a range of work to be done including ‘lighter’ jobs such as pruning along the trail and painting huts.

Do you have home handy person/building skills?

Our Hut Maintenance Co-ordinator needs more assistance.

If you are a skilled home handyperson or tradesperson and are willing to participate in one or two maintenance trips per year with a small group, please put your name on the list below. Typical work includes carpentry, painting, roofing, plumbing, glazing and plastering.

If you can help in any of these areas, please let us know.

You can leave your name to enter your availability preferences and interests/skills and we will add you to our Maintenance Volunteers mailing list.

This is your chance to ‘give a bit back to the trail’.

Proposed Upgrade of South Coast Heysen Trail – Feedback Sought

Feedback sought on Heysen Trail South Coast Proposed UpgradeA proposal is under consideration to upgrade the Heysen Trail on the southern Fluerieu Peninsula (67km / 5 days), which will encourage walkers to visit the area, in particular tourists from outside the region.

Feedback is being sought from the public, walkers and potential tourism and adventure operators. The survey will take approx 10 minuntes to complete, or 22 minutes if reading the additional supporting proposal.

About the Upgrade Proposal

Various combinations of walk options will allow for day walkers, 1-2 day walkers, 5-day walkers and a 1-day Accessible trail, with walkers camping on the trail or staying in accommodation nearby. Tourism operators will be able to offer transport services, either daily or the start and end of multi-day walks.

At the core of the product will be a through walk commencing from Cape Jervis and providing access to four exclusive camping sites at Eagle Waterhole, Tapanappa, Balquhidder and Newland Head. These sites will include camping platforms, shelter, toilets and water tanks. Through walkers can tailor their walk, exiting the trail after any of the day walk stages. Tourism operators will add value through the provision of transport, accommodation and other services to day and multi-day walkers.

To provide a ‘softer’ recreational experience for day visitors to the region, or those passing through on their way to Kangaroo Island, and perhaps to encourage new walkers to the region and park, it is proposed that an extensive re-development of the Heysen Trail between Cape Jervis and Fishery Beach (4km one-way, 8km return) will be undertaken to provide a Class 1 trail with boardwalk, viewing platforms and interpretation that will provide an Accessible trail for prams and those with mobility aids including wheelchairs. A boardwalk will be constructed with viewing platforms at points of significant interest in association with appropriate interpretation.

An extension of this upgraded trail onwards to Blowhole Beach (11km walk from Cape Jervis) as a Class 2 trail which will cater for all-terrain wheelchairs, which will be available for hire from the Sealink terminal for visitors with significant physical disabilities. This section will again be suitable for recreational walkers as a two-way linear walk from Cape Jervis or a one way walk with a pick up at the Cobbler Hill camp ground, which will be upgraded to allow cars and buses to park safety.

The proposal is an initiative of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) and the District Council of Yankalilla, and supports tourism and nature based recreation in regional South Australia.

Provide feedback about this proposal at deepcreek.questionpro.com.

Response from the Friends of the Heysen Trail about the Proposed Bundaleer and Wirrabara Greenways

Southern Flinders Ranges from New Campbell HillThe ownership and management of the Bundaleer and Wirrabara Forests may soon change, following the Mid North Forests Future Strategy which commenced after the devastating bushfires of 2013 and 2014.

The State Government is proposing to use the Recreational Greenways Act 2000 to protect the Heysen and Mawson Trail networks for recreational access in perpetuity for use by walkers and/or cyclists. This will create a greenway over sections of the Heysen and Mawson Trails within Wirrabara and Bundaleer Forests that are proposed to be sold to private parties.

We have some concerns with regard to the proposed changes, which we have outlined in our submission below. Our main concerns relate to the proposed change to the route in Bundaleer that removes the section walked from Curnow’s Hut to New Campbell Hill and consequently removes the extensive views across the Spencer Gulf as well as extending the distance.

Submit your feedback via yoursay.sa.gov.au/greenways by COB Monday 12 June 2017.

Our first End to End Maintenance program weekend

The Friends new End to End Maintenance program commenced on the Mother’s Day weekend with a two day camp based at Cape Jervis.  Twelve volunteers plus the section leader Albert Schmidke and his colleague, Richard Triggs worked on the Trail between Cape Jervis and Tapanappa in Deep Creek Conservation Park.

The weather was perfect for maintenance work although the chill breeze later in the afternoon was piercing.  As a result we had two full days of hard work maintaining the trail.  There was plenty of pruning, plating and posting – large amounts of undergrowth needed to be cut back, many old plates had faded and needed to be replaced and several new marker posts were erected to help walkers on their way.

As a result, the first two sections on the trail are in good order and ready for the onslaught from End to End 12 this coming weekend.

Working through two End to End sections in the one weekend proved to be a considerable challenge.  While the team coped very well and the majority of the planned maintenance work was completed, some sections were a little light on as far as pruning is concerned.

The team celebrated on the Saturday night with a very pleasant dinner in the Cape Jervis Tavern.  Seven local guests attended the dinner in an effort to build relationships with local communities.  Their responses were very positive which suggests that this initiative may assist us to enhance the reputation of the Trail and generate positive local interest.

Overall the feedback from all of the volunteers and our dinner guests has been very positive. We have received several constructive suggestions about how we can improve arrangements for our maintenance next camp to be held on June 17 and 18..

For that trip we will be moving along the trail from Tapanappa to Waitpinga. If you are interested in joining the maintenance group for that weekend, you can check the details and register via the Walk Calendar on our website.

For more information on the End to End Maintenance can be found in this bulletin

More trees on the Heysen Trail – thank you to our volunteers.

 

Thank you to the many volunteers who have helped plant trees on the Heysen Trail. The efforts of the Greening Committee and volunteers since 2013 are visible in a number of locations along the trail.

As an example of their work, the trees planted at Worlds End a few years ago can now actually be seen along the road at Duttons Trough (south of Burra).

Most of the trees are still only about knee high but they are starting to stand out from the other roadside vegetation.  The best of the trees is scarcely large enough to hide behind (although the photo shows Neil is having a good try!). It has almost doubled in size over the last twelve months.

Our tallest tree, the Worlds End Wonder, is 1.75m and has shot up recently.

The good rains we’ve had over the last 12 months have helped, but the trees have also benefited from special care and supplemental watering provided by the Greening Committee.

In addition to Duttons Trough, the Greening Committee has also managed plantings at Centennial Drive in the Mount Crawford Forest, Hiskeys Hut and along the Bundaleer Channel reserve south of  Spalding.

This year we are planting at Lights Pass on the Lavender Federation Trail.

Thanks again to the Greening volunteers and End to End walkers who have helped. Your efforts will be appreciated by walkers in the years ahead.

 

Registrations have opened for the first End to End Maintenance Weekend

 

Registrations have opened for the first Heysen Trail End to End Maintenance (E2EM) week-end to be held at Cape Jervis on 13th & 14th May.

If you are interested in helping out on the trail, you can register on the Friends website in the same way as you would for a walk.

We appreciate the contribution you will be making to maintaining the trail, so registration is free.

You may have already seen the earlier news item on End to End Maintenance weekends. If not, check it out now to find out more about the program.

There will be more End to End Maintenance week-ends throughout the walking season. These are now listed on the walks program on the website.

If you want any more information on the weekends, please contact the Office.

End-to-End Maintenance Weekends

Commencing in 2017 we will be rolling out a new maintenance program for the Heysen Trail aimed at:

  • Maintaining the Heysen Trail at a consistent, high standard;
  • Assisting section leaders with their maintenance responsibilities;
  • Developing our relationships with landholders and others along the trail;
  • Providing FOHT walkers with a different rural weekend experience.

The Concept

  • A specific schedule of weekend trips each month of the walking season;
  • Involving small groups of up to 10 volunteers per weekend.
  • Provides a maintenance program for the whole trail over a five year cycle;
  • Focus on trail basics – signage, stiles, obstacles (eg rocks, fallen trees);

Individual Requirements

  • Basic handyperson skills are desirable, not essential (training can be provided);
  • A good level of physical fitness and willingness to participate.

Participation

  • Aim to share the load between a larger group of volunteers so that individuals (particularly leaders) would attend just one or two weekends per year;
  • Section leader involvement is keenly sought;
  • Accommodation allowance and Saturday night meal will be provided by FOHT

What next

Early in the New Year, you will be able to view maintenance walks program in our Walks Calendar under the new walk grade End-to-End Maintenance.

If you would like to be involved, or have an interest, please contact the Heysen Trail office.

Volunteers Sought for Trail Development

Much of the Heysen Trail infrastructure is now 30 years old.

The Friends Trail Development Committee have plans for many upgrades to both the trail and walker facilities. These plans include –

  1. Trail remarking and track work – a 3 year project commenced this year.
  2. Camp site facilities – toilets, water tanks and benches are planned for more sites.
  3. Hut upgrades to include benches, seats, painting etc.
  4. New huts are being considered at White Park; Simmons Hill; Cuddlee Creek and a Freemans hut replacement.
  5. Rebuilding the Waitpinga Beach sand ladder.

You can help

We need help to get these projects moving, both in the field and at our Cobbler Creek shed.

  • Waitpinga Beach walkway: We need a team to urgently undertake work on the sand ladder. The existing structure is in a dilapidated condition.
  • Cobbler Creek shed, Salisbury East. Urgent work is required to produce items needed for the campsites and huts. We propose to initially open the shed once a month, on a Tuesday from 9 am to 3 pm, for this work.

We would love to hear from anyone with time available and an interest in the trail to HELP us.

Contact us to discuss how you can help.

The trail needs us, please help.