Sue Baker, Mid North Coast Branch
This time last year we were celebrating 40 years of bush regeneration work by the Mid North Coast Branch at Crowdy Bay. In December 2019 the area was hit by devastating fires, which also destroyed the new hut facilities at Kylie’s Beach. There is, however, good to come from the ashes. This year’s bush regen camp will be able to make a strong impact on previously difficult to access weed infestations.
The following article first appeared in the Mod North Coast Branch newsletter. This version has additions from Sue Baker.
Sixty-five people gathered in Laurieton on 18 May 2019 to celebrate our Mid North Coast branch’s 40 years of work in Crowdy Bay NP. It was such a joyful occasion with shared pride of the achievements between so many people. Although bad fires have affected parts of the park before, never could we have dreamt of the total wipe out that would occur six months later.
I have never seen anything so devastated in my life. In places the hind dunes looked like a desert with just a few pieces of charred wood remaining. Thankfully the bulk of the rainforest patch on the northern end of Kylie’s Beach, where we have put in a massive effort in recent years, is intact. However, the beautiful rainforest at Figtree is completely gone together with all the other hind dune patches. Massive blackbutts on Indian Head – all gone. A deathly quiet surrounded us – not a bird to be seen. A lone goanna hangs out at Indian Head, what he will find to eat I don’t know.
It would be easy to throw up our hands and walk away. However, the fire has not undone the work of the past 40 years. Those areas that have been intensively worked in recent years should recover relatively weed free. The other positive is that post-fire it should be easy to get in and tackle bad weed infestations, eg in areas such as the morning glory vine at Kylies Beach. If we can muster enough resources, now is our chance.
Regeneration of native plants has begun, even before the recent rain. Clusters of red leaves burst out of charred and blackened forest red gums, tiny flowering plants carpet part of the hind dunes, and the northern most end of the park is densely covered with grass tree shoots.
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has put out two koala watering stations; NPWS is about to set out a number of feeding stations for other wildlife. the response of people across the world to helping our surviving wildlife is momentous and fills me with hope and optimism.
At this time, plans have not yet been made for how the situation is to be tackled but the 2020 bush regen camp at Kylies Beach is currently scheduled for Monday 18th-Sunday 24th May. Depending on how much weed growth occurs between now and mid-May, our bush regen camp may have to be postponed until later in the year. Our iconic mid north coast park will need your help more than ever.
Please contact Sue Baker to register your interest in being involved with this year’s bush regen camp. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.