Present: Colin Bridge, Trish Wilson, Kerry Duffy, Gloria McKenzie, Helen and Grahame Griffin, Peter Foster, Keith Slater, Iain McPhail, Lene Mikkelsen, Allan Lopez, Pamela Smith, Melanie Hemy
Special Guest: Bronwyn Davies
Apologies: David Goddard, Kirrily Fair, Joy Carr, Dianne Hiles
Chair: Helen Griffin (this is a turn about position)
Minutes: Grahame Griffin (as above)
Bronwyn introduced her project ‘In Consideration of Trees’ a two day event w/e of 12 November. It embraces organisations such as National Parks, our bushwalkers and TMNHA, concepts such as caring for country, eco philosophy, and includes environmental activists and authors and Bronwyn’s exhibition on this theme. This date coincides with one of our monthly walks and TM Bushwalkers have been invited to assist. We will do this by leading a local walk at the beginning of each daily session. More details to come.
- Bushwalkers Charter*. A simple statement discussed and amended. To go on our website.
- Email info for walks to include grading of difficulty, meeting time and place (this can be a local point such as the VIC as well as the walk head. The calendar already gives good detail for most circumstances. A name to be nominated for car pooling. Mentoring of new walk leaders to be re-instated. The purpose of the discussion was raised: it was explained that we have a lot of new members, the old group has had a recent shake up and it is always good practice to ensure that communication is clear and adequate.
- Walk days. Still the second and fourth weekend. It was decided to have some flexibility (eg if the Saturday is ruled out because of bad weather and the Sunday is clear the walk may go ahead as per notice). So necessary to watch the email notifications.
- Mid-week walk (the first and third week) to be re-instated with Colin as walk leader and organiser. These walks are usually more challenging with the intent of sussing out new walks for other members.
- Blurb for local paper’s ‘Regular Activities’ column. Currently there is one for TMNHA. We need one that has TM Bushwalkers as lead. HG to attend.
- Visitor policy. Two walks then join if you wish. Visitors may be invited along to away walks as well.
- John Leiston had suggested that there is a need to try to recover some local tracks lost over time. It was suggested that we have this activity as a local option instead of a planned harder walk (25/9 first opportunity).
- Draft letter to Scenic News re P Fitzgerald’s reference to our club support for his plan for Back Creek Gorge#. The whole business has a long history and it was suggested that it may be better to overlook the matter even if we would all be sympathetic to the principle of the prepared draft+.
- Away walk N. Stradbroke. October too soon. HG to try for November.
- Away walk 2022. HG to check availability in May. Need for reasonably prompt action as a very popular destination.
- Local walks. Suggestions received from Dianne. We have September covered. Kerry looking into arrangements for the Border Track on 25 September. Peter is available for Plunket’s Conservation Park walk in October. Colin will enter these suggestions into the calendar (to be confirmed closer to the time). Contact walk leader indicated if interested. Note that Colin will be away in October.
- Meeting closed at 10.00 . See below Bushwalkers Charter, article re Back Creek Gorge, draft letter to Scenic News (We suggest that this is not sent as we do not have full agreement)
Tamborine Mountain Bushwalkers Charter
Tamborine Mountain Bushwalkers:
Welcomes new members from diverse backgrounds, interests and ages
Offers a range of walking choices, options and levels in our local area, the hinterland and further afield
Follows the overarching principle of treading lightly wherever we walk to preserve the integrity of our land and eco systems while acknowledging the care and practices of traditional owners, past and present
Provides an opportunity for safe walking and exploring under the auspices of our parent body, Tamborine Mountain Natural History Association, which provides administrative and financial support for an annual membership fee
Has clear roles and responsibilities and a process set out to encompass organisational and walking leadership roles
Holds a social occasion on a regular three monthly basis providing an opportunity to plan forward walks and to discuss any issues arising in a constructive and informal way.
Scenic Rim Article
Draft letter to Scenic News in response to P. Fitzgerald’s letter
At a recent meeting the Tamborine Mountain Bushwalkers Club clarified its position regarding Mr Pat Fitzgerald’s ongoing campaign to open up Back Creek Gorge (Scenic News 19 August 2021).
Mr Fitzgerald says many in our Club are trying to facilitate the realisation of the assets afforded by Back Creek Gorge. However, this is not the current situation. A few of our members have had discussions with Mr Fitzgerald on the matter over the years, and he has kindly led a group of us to Killarney Glen which has been closed by the Army because of a fatal accident and the abuse of the area by some visitors.
It is easy to suggest that ‘public recreation and the tourism industry’ will be the beneficiaries of his solution to open the Gorge. But the unwillingness of the parties involved - the State Government, the SRRC and the landowner whose land gives access to the Gorge via Denham Reserve - to take any action on this issue suggests there is more to the narrative to be considered.
As bushwalkers we know that there must be a balance sought. This balance is between protection of our natural environment, at a cost to tax payers, and the cost of opening such natural resources to the public with the eco-tourism opportunities that Mr Fitzgerald mentions. There is possible profit for some operators, but also substantial management costs and the need for government and business planning when an area is opened up this way.
It is apparent that Mr Fitzgerald is prioritising the opening up of this area and therefore the rights of the pubic to have access. In an ideal world this would be no problem. But reports made to SRRC, the relevant government departments and TMNHA demonstrate that our world is far from the ideal. What we have time and time again are the public’s rights being asserted, but with no responsibility demonstrated by these users of pristine natural heritage destinations such as Killarney Glen and Cedar Creek at Thunderbird Park. There have been numerous reports of vandalism, trashing of vegetation, littering, erosion, water pollution, destruction of fences, the starting of fires, not to mention the negative impacts and loss of amenity for adjoining residents. So with a history of limited planning and funding – as is the case with Cedar Creek – there is a real likelihood of further abuse and degradation of our natural resources.
Tamborine Mountain Bushwalkers therefore have strong reservations regarding the opening up of Back Creek Gorge in the current climate where funding is limited for management, and the preservation of our natural heritage is a meaningless platitude. In fact the ‘solution’ for the opening up of Back Creek Gorge remains a plan only, without all parties demonstrating the will, cooperation and funding to realise Mr Fitzgerald’s dream.