8 April 2021

Gates are open again for the worst-hit areas of Namadgi

| Michael Weaver
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Mt Tennent (at right) leading to the Brindabellas in Namadgi National Park

Mt Tennent (at right) leading to the Naas Valley in Namadgi National Park, most of which is reopening Friday. Photo: ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

Namadgi National Park has come a long way since more than 80 per cent of it was left devastated by the Orroral Valley fire. This Friday (9 April), most of the closed areas will re-open well ahead of the original timeline of September 2023, including some areas worst hit in January and February last year.

However, the Yankee Hat Rock Art Site remains closed as ACT Parks and Conservation Service rangers work on upgrades to the site with the Ngunnawal people. The Orroral Campground and some surrounding roads also remain closed.

The areas re-opening include:

  • Mt Tennant and the Australian Alps Walking Track
  • Honeysuckle Ridge, including the campground and Booroomba Rocks
  • Orroral Valley, Nursery Swamp, the Geodesic Dome and the tracking station, and
  • The Bimberi Wilderness Area.

Almost two-thirds of Namadgi has been open since July last year.

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said many hands had made light work of the restoration projects, and he encouraged the Canberra community to get back out into the Park and experience the areas that have been closed.

“Our teams have worked hard to make the park safer for the community to get back into the Park well ahead of schedule, with a focus on critical issues with infrastructure and along public roads into the park,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Recovery work was able to progress faster than originally anticipated thanks to a combination of favourable weather conditions and the hard work of the recovery team, Roads ACT and various volunteer groups from within the community.

“The Yankee Hat Rock Art Site remains closed as we work on upgrades to the site with the Ngunnawal people to integrate their values, lore and knowledge into this work. This will take some time, but it is important that we have new infrastructure, signage and experiences that respects and values the Ngunnawal culture and celebrates the cultural significance of this site.”

Orroral Valley

Mt Tennent and the gateway to Namadgi National Park in January 2020. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

More than 200 mm of rain fell in less than 36 hours in parts of the Orroral Valley in late March so some public roads remain closed which may restrict vehicle access to some areas of the park.

Mr Gentleman said people should still be wary of the park’s ongoing recovery process that encompasses more than 106,000 hectares and 160 km of marked walking tracks.

“For many Canberrans, they will be heading into Namadgi for the first time since the Orroral Valley bushfire in January 2020. The bush is still recovering, and the safety hazards brought about by the fires haven’t completely gone away,” he said.

“Many tree branches are still very fragile so we ask that you avoid walking in fire-affected areas on windy days. Always keep to the tracks because after a wet spring and summer there’s a lot of thick regrowth if you head off the marked path.”

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Mr Gentleman also encouraged visitors to use the Namadgi Visitor Centre at Naas Road for the latest safety information

For more information, visit Namadgi National Park on the ACT Government website.

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