Noosa koalas are being given a real shot at local survival at Yurol-Ringtail Forest.
Noosa koalas are being given a real shot at local survival at Yurol-Ringtail Forest.

Hinterland walkers told to take a hike for their own safety

Noosa’s ambitious $3.5 million koala conservation and wildlife corridor connection has been forced to close a section of its 2450ha site coverage to protect hikers from tree harvesting.

The landmark Yurol-Ringtail Conservation Project needs to be cleared before the hard work to restore prime habitat begins and Noosa Council environment officer Peter Milne said the existing state forest plantation timber is being harvested to allow natural regrowth to occur.

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“Some areas will need a helping hand with weed control and tree planting to bring it back to a natural condition,” he said.

So for safety reasons council has closed the Noosa Trail Network where timber harvesting operations are under way.

‘‘Despite the warning signs, some visitors have ignored trail closures and entered timber harvesting areas while operations are under way,” Mr Milne said.

“This is a significant safety issue. It’s essential that visitors comply with all workplace signage and do not cross barriers, for their own safety and the safety of forest workers,” he said

Visitors who ignore and pass beyond workplace safety signage face significant fines or potential prosecution under workplace health and safety laws.”

Mr Milne said this landmark project is on track to become one of Noosa’s most significant environmental initiatives.

Former Mayor Tony Wellington, HQPlantations' David West, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch and Noosa Parks' Michael Gloster at the signing of the Yurol/Ringtail forests agreement.
Former Mayor Tony Wellington, HQPlantations' David West, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch and Noosa Parks' Michael Gloster at the signing of the Yurol/Ringtail forests agreement.

Already 357ha of state forest has been placed into national park protection.

“Noosa and District Landcare and Queensland Koala Crusaders, with the help of volunteers, and funding from the Body Shop and Peppers Noosa Resort and Spa, have already planted 100ha of land with 24,000 trees,” Mr Milne said.

“We can expect more timber harvesting during drier weather, particularly in Yurol State Forest near Pomona.”

This collaboration between the Queensland Government, Noosa Council and Noosa Parks Association, and supported by HQPlantations, the conservation project aims to convert of state forest into national park, which will create and conserve habitat for koalas and many other plants and animals.

Monitoring of the regrowth after the state forest plantations are harvested has also been occurring.

Trails on the Noosa Trail Network are off limit to walkers due to forest harvesting.
Trails on the Noosa Trail Network are off limit to walkers due to forest harvesting.

Government agencies have been preparing for the spring fire season. This includes undertaking several planned burns and expanding fire trails within the bushland reserve network.

“Each area is different,” Mr Milne said.

“Some areas would benefit from fire to control weeds and stimulate natural regrowth.

“However, in other areas where regrowth is already established, a fire could actually destroy the smaller trees and set back the regeneration.”

Mr Milne said it will take a number of years for the full transition to national park to occur and in the meantime plantation timber harvesting of some of these areas will continue.

More information on Noosa Trail Network closures can be found on Council’s website – www.noosa.qld.gov.au/services-facilities/parks-facilities/noosa-trail-network

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