Great Koala National Park concept has Bowraville Chamber of Commerce on side

Over 130 people attended the community information session hosted by the Bowraville Chamber of Commerce and presented by the Great Koala National Park steering committee at the historic Bowraville Theatre.

By Paula Flack

Attendees learnt of the need for the science-based network of existing National Parks and new reserves on public land, which would be known collectively as the GKNP.

Oisin Sweeney speaks at the launch of proposed horse and walking trails in the park. (Picture: the Nambucca Guardian)

“It was clear that the Bowra community were keen to hear about the park and what it might mean for their town and they weren’t disappointed,” President of the Bowraville Chamber of Commerce, Gay Larkin, said.

“I think that attendees left the meeting with a clearer understanding of the proposal and hopefully went away thinking about what could be. I hope that one day we will have the opportunity to work together to maximise the benefits for our businesses and community.” 

It was clear that the Bowra community were keen to hear about the park and what it might mean for their town and they weren’t disappointed – Gay Larkin, Bowraville Chamber president

The event saw the launch of two exciting recreational trail concept plans – a 217km walking track and a 65km horse trail.

The (yet to be named) track is world class multi-day walk from the Coffs Coast up to the Dorrigo Escarpment and back down through the Nambucca Valley to Bowraville.

The route offers a spectacular scenery taking in the New England Wilderness, numerous waterfalls, the Black Scrub, Leagues Scrub, World Heritage Gondwana Rainforest and a host of other landmarks.

“This walk will attract international and domestic tourists wanting a wilderness and koala experience in what would be the world’s first dedicated Koala National Park,” GKNP steering committee member Caitlin Hockey said.

The Horseshoe Trail proposes a 65km three-day horse-riding trail from Argents Hill Hall to Missabotti Hall in the Nambucca Valley, which would include overnight camping at two designated campsites.

“These new eco-tourism propositions come on top of Wednesday’s calls from the GKNP steering committee for $6 million investment into upgrading mountain bike tracks to ensure that the park can deliver both koala protection and economic development,” Caitlin said.

“I have grown up in the Nambucca Valley … we see the GKNP as offering exciting opportunities that can give young people the chance to stay and contribute to a thriving future for our valley through nature-based tourism, which is currently worth $19.6 billion annually to NSW.”

Related reading:

Greens support with strategies for the park

Bowraville Chamber rallies behind GKNP concept

Nambucca Shire Council not supportive – yet

She said the overwhelming mood on Saturday was one of enthusiasm at the breadth of possibilities the proposal provides.

“Historically, the creation of large new national parks comes with substantial funding for new businesses.

“That would present a huge opportunity for people in Nambucca Shire, particularly Bowraville which would become the southern gateway to the GKNP, as well as Bellingen and Coffs.” 

The recreational trail concept plans can be viewed at:

First published at The Nambucca Guardian – Monday 18 February 2019


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