Gabrielle Taysom, National Parks Association of NSW Far South Coast Branch
The Far South Coast Branch of the National Parks Association was established around 1997, most of the Branch’s original members having been involved in the 12 year campaign to secure the South East Forests National Park. With the Park’s gazettal, it was now considered timely to become part of a wider organisation lobbying on conservation issues and park management.
Our Far South Coast region extends along the coast from Bermagui to the Victorian border and inland to the high country of the Monaro. Consequently, our brief includes marine issues, forestry issues and management of Kosciuszko National Park. Our submissions, therefore, cover issues ranging from inappropriate commercial development in coastal national parks to the culling of brumbies in Kosciuszko National Park. This year we have also lodged strong objections to cutbacks in NPWS, which have impacted management of parks in our region and severely affected NPWS staff morale.
As part of our community involvement we have had membership on national parks’ Regional Advisory Committees, including working with the Indigenous owners of Biamanga and Gulaga National Parks.
In recent years our Branch has been promoting the vision of a Great Southern Forest. This plan would change management of over 400,000 hectares of public native forest in the Eden and Southern regions of NSW from logging to retention for carbon sequestration and climate stabilisation, with jobs in forest restoration, culture and tourism.
In 2016 our current President, David Gallan, produced the film, Understorey: the campaigns to protect the southeast forests.” This inspiring film has been screened widely, from Sydney to Canberra, to much acclaim. David and other Branch members have combined Q & A sessions with the screenings and have achieved valuable community engagement.
In June 2017 our Branch held a public “Forest Forum” in Tathra. This was well supported and inspired a similar forum in Moruya.
The Branch has a regular walks program exploring our beautiful and varied local national parks. With far flung membership, for many this provides an enjoyable social activity. This year three of our region’s walks were selected under the NPA banner of 60 Best Walks in NSW.
Our parks were further featured with two of our members recently receiving awards for entries in the NPA “Nature in Focus”photographic exhibition.
We invite members from other branches to visit our region and enjoy our delightful national parks.