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.