Resident feedback sought on plans for popular Glenrock State Conservation Area

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The Glenrock State Conservation Area is popular with hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, horseback riders, beach users and nature lovers.

And, now, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is seeking community feedback on a new draft management plan and draft mountain biking proposal for the Highfields location.

The Glenrock State Conservation Area. Photo: John Spencer-DPE

Nestled on the urban outskirts of Newcastle, the 550 hectare conservation area attracts over a million visitors each year.

The draft management plan recommends new and improved walking tracks; car park with landing stage for horses and bus drop-off; more cultural interpretation panels; formalized entry points to limit environmental impacts; and a Trail Signage Policy, which will identify trails suitable for walking, running and mountain biking to address shared use conflicts and visitor safety.

Photo: Jared Lyons

Meanwhile, the draft mountain bike plan, aligned with the NPWS cycling strategy, suggests establishing 21km of new trails and features; use 10 km of existing mountain bike trails; reallocate 7.6 km of existing unauthorized trails; closure of 30 km of unauthorized trails that are unsafe or unsustainable; and prioritize improving the accessibility of mountain bike trails for park users with reduced mobility.

“Given the tremendous interest from the community, we look forward to receiving feedback on both concepts,” said Doug Beckers, acting director of NPWS Hunter Central Coast.

“It’s a question of balance – we need to protect the cultural and natural values ​​of Glenrock, while supporting recreational activities that are safe and don’t harm the environment.

“Glenrock is a conservation area in the traditional homeland of the Awabakal people and part of a rich cultural landscape nurtured by Indigenous families and groups for thousands of years.

“It is also home to five endangered ecological communities, including littoral rainforest and 10 endangered animal species such as the squirrel glider.

“We propose to minimize the impacts of the new network by using already disturbed areas as much as possible, such as easements and power line corridors.”

Photo: John Spencer – ECD

Glenrock State Conservation Area is listed on the state heritage register for its evidence of the early history of coal mining.

“Thus, management plans are legal documents that the NPWS develops and maintains to guide the sustainable management of a park,” Beckers said.

“We consulted extensively with several park user groups over two years.

“The proposed new mountain bike trail network has been professionally designed to provide opportunities for riders of different ages and ability levels.

“The NPWS has committed over $2 million to improve walking trails and upgrade visitor facilities in Glenrock State Conservation Area, as part of the NSW Government’s biggest ever investment in the history of national parks with $450 million for more than 200 visitor infrastructure projects.

“National parks are a huge driver of the visitor economy in the Hunter, generating $618 million a year in economic activity and supporting more than 420 jobs.”

Both drafts are currently on display.

Beginning of the Yuelerbah trail. Photo: Bob Peters – ECD

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