Horse Riding Conservation Strip comment

Condondale Range Committee Welcomes New Forest Tenure Announcement

Media Release - Tuesday Nov 23 2004

One of the Sunshine Coast’s oldest conservation groups, The Conondale Range Committee has welcomed the recent announcement of an enlarged National Park system in the Conondales and Mapleton State Forests as part of the South East Queensland Forest Agreement. The announcement follows commitments given during the Regional Forest Agreement process and comes after extensive consultation between a number of interest groups. Conondale Range Committee President, Ian Mackay, said his group had also been supportive of horse-riders’ aspirations and had argued for the establishment of Conservation Park strips along several existing roadways through the National Park.

“This was a fairly pragmatic decision,” Mr Mackay said. “There were three options in the Conondales. One was to change it all to National Park with no access for horse-riding. The second was to accommodate horse-riding by having a large Conservation Park (and therefore a smaller National Park) which would permit riding, while the third was to provide large areas of National Park with several Conservation Park strips along a few existing roadways. We favored the latter option although a few tried, rather simplistically, to brand us as being ‘in favor of horse-riding in National Parks’.” The Conservation Park strip model is slightly different to the proposal recently announced by government in that the strips are called National Park (Recovery) and propose phasing–out horse-riding after 9 years.

Mr Mackay expressed his group’s disappointment at horse-riders’ reaction to the announcement. “We had received assurances that the idea of roadside trails, which were a suggestion from horse-riding groups themselves, were well-supported and would be adhered to, but recent media reports would seem to suggest otherwise.” “It would appear that many riders are not prepared to countenance the proposal suggested by their leaders,” he said. “They claim to be “locked out” and “forced to ride along roads” and conveniently fail to mention that the government has allocated a substantial sum of money to seek alternative riding trails.”

“It is our belief that the government has really sought a tenure solution that recognizes the time necessary to locate alternatives. It certainly hasn’t walked away from horse-riders’ needs, or its commitment to “no nett loss”, but in the meantime, it has delivered protection for some of south-east Queensland’s important biodiversity.”

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