Northern Territory Minister for Parks and Wildlife Matt Conlan
Territorians Get Greater Access To Parks
Victor P Taffa
The Country Liberals Government has honoured its election commitment to open up Northern Territory parks and reserves for more Territorians to enjoy.
Minister for Parks and Wildlife Matt Conlan said the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory (PWCNT) have signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding with the Four Wheel Drive Association NT that will deliver benefits to the whole community.
“The Territory’s rich variety of Parks and Reserves are integral to our unique outdoor lifestyle.” Mr. Conlan said.
“Off-roading is a popular pastime for many Territorians and this Memorandum of Understanding will enhance these opportunities for families and make them more enjoyable.”
“The agreement will allow members of 4WD NT greater access to 4WD drive tracks relatively close to Darwin which will allow them access to bush camping in our parks and reserves, meaning our regular public campsites will be less crowded.”
“The MOU will also be a two-way track, with 4WD NT and their members working closely with PWCNT to jointly promote conservation and ecologically sustainable visitor use in our parks as well as reporting regularly on environmental impacts, significant flora and fauna observations, weed management and other potential hazards.” Mr. Conlan said.
“The Country Liberals Government is committed to enhancing our Territory lifestyle for today and tomorrow and this MOU will ensure our Parks are enjoyed and well looked after for years to come.”
The areas covered by the new MOU include 4WD tracks within Litchfield National Park and Mary River National Park.
President of 4WD NT Mal Stewart said his 200 members are excited by the new MOU.
“We’re very happy to sign this MOU with the Territory Government. It will give our members more places to go in the bush than we’ve had in the past which will give us much more enjoyment and variety.” Mr. Stewart said.
“Under the MOU, access will be allowed by permit to many previously closed overgrown 4WD tracks and areas. The clearing of these tracks and keeping them open, with much of the manpower provided by 4WD NT, will also assist in allowing PWCNT to have greater fire control in these areas.”
“Some assistance will also be provided by 4WD NT to open up publicly designated 4WD tracks, particularly in Mary River Park so it really is a cooperative relationship between the two parties.”
The MOU with 4WD NT is for three years with the option to extend further. Access will not be granted to areas deemed culturally significant. This MOU, which covers most park areas North of Katherine, is a first step and the intension is to negotiate a further MOU for the parks covered under the PWCNT Katherine region.
4WD NT is the peak organisation that represents four wheel drive clubs in the Territory. The Association promotes responsible 4WD family touring, environmental awareness, driver education and skills development.
All 4WD clubs associated with 4WD NT are bound by the new MOU. All clubs are open to anyone who owns a 4WD vehicle and members are covered by the organisation’s public liability insurance.
The Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory currently maintains 1,283 km of four wheel drive tracks that is normally available to park visitors and only closes these tracks during adverse seasonal weather conditions like fire management and wet season inundation.