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Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Thu 08 Nov, 2018 4:32 pm
by Warin
doogs wrote:In his letter Marto claims those against the proposed development are not willing to compromise, yet in Frenchys piece he suggests one. This being; make the guests walk into Lake Malbeny but still have the accommodation on Halls Island.

And the supplies? I guess still by helicopter...

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Thu 08 Nov, 2018 4:59 pm
by Nuts
Frenchy can suggest compromise but not for me, it's already been made.

If campsites are going to be subject to increased use, the use is likely to cause environmental damage. The respectful compromise it to mitigate this impact by hardened sites/ tent platforms. There is no place for exclusive use and no excuse for unnecessary damage inflicted in the name of exclusive income (and with no evidence of benefit to the WHA). And of course access should be on-foot!

Regarding Luke Martin's opinion.. that is by far the tamest piece he's written involving Bob (or the tassie greens) (and not that some of them don't play us all into his hands). That is the first time iv'e even seen any suggestion of compromise. It's usually a like-fest in response to his derision other than some few, or someone.. pointing out that some of us in tourism, un-linked to politics, also think these incursions are misplaced, not necessarily of benefit to the economy in the longer term and not reflective of concerned members wishes. Indeed in supporting WHA or even reserve EOI developments, TICT have induced harm on existing operators by their support for government policy or reduced scope of more harmonious operations to grow into the future (via exclusive sell-offs). Marking time, stagnant and guessing at direction or future security. For example, how many (minimal impact) fishing guide operations or new start-ups could benefit from (and fund) a public facility..

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2018 7:10 am
by Nuts
Fishers & Walkers Against Helicopter Access Tasmania
10 hrs ·

"Hi everyone, Greg French posted this in Flylife tonight...

Lots of people have been supplying info on Malbena in various forums. For reliable stuff, read Kate Legge’s article in the Weekend Australian this coming Saturday, and look out for question time when state parliament resumes next week.

This is what I am currently certain of:

The old lease and licence for Reg Hall’s hut only applied to the hut footprint, a total of merely 36 square metres. It was officially transferred to the proponent by the previous owner in September 2016, but there was no physical space for further development under this lease.

Consequently, the minister (Matthew Groom) ordered the director of Parks and Wildlife to initiate proceedings for a brand new lease to be issued to proponent, one which would cover the whole of Halls Island (bar the existing 36 square metre lease). It is important to understand that the new lease is separate to the old one. Rumours are that it is for 40 years and cost practically nothing.

Leasehold titles are akin to freehold titles, but with a time constraint. For all practical purposes, the issuing of long-term leases is the same as privatising parts of our national parks and WHAs.

Under the Hodgman government’s changes to the WHA management plan, it seems that all this is entirely legal. In fact it seems that the minister can now issue leases as big as he likes to whomever he likes without even having to discuss the idea in public or take anything through parliament (which is exactly how this one came about). Malbena was to be a test case: I guess the government and proponent thought it would pass under the radar because of public confusion about the size and nature of the original lease.

If this doesn’t scare you half to death, it *&%$#! well should.

I have also learned that there are more existing leases on the remote Central Plateau than I ever knew. Rumours are rife that big-name players in tourism (even government employees) have been seeking out these leaseholders.

The prospect of multiple private lodges and helicopter guiding services in the Western Lakes seems immediate. If you didn’t think that precedents set at Lake Malbena were of consequence, you should now.

It seems that Malbena really does matter, that nothing about it is ‘relatively insignificant’.

I will be one of the guest speakers at the Malbena Matters rally/meeting (organised by the Wilderness Society) at the Hobart Town Hall on 27 November, from 12.10 pm to 1.00 pm. It will be a great opportunity to hear the latest – lots of details should be much clearer by then – and also a great opportunity to show your support. Be there if you can, and in any case spread the word."

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2018 7:27 am
by ofuros
Sneaky & scary....

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2018 7:33 am
by Son of a Beach
Just checked LIST Map, and sure enough, there are two features in the Crown Leases layer on the island. One is the size and shape of the hut, and the other covers the rest of island.

This whole scheme is even more insane that I could have possibly imagined. What our politicians have done here is bordering on criminal, just giving away public land in a renowned 'wilderness' area to commercial interests with zero public consultation, when the proposed developer has not even had a project approved yet!!!

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2018 7:49 am
by Nuts
I could't see any new leasehold elsewhere in WoJ but I now wonder how far The List lags behind new leasehold or re-zoning..
Agreed, if not crook, definitely not what we'd (I'd) (rightfully) expect of proper WWHA management or appropriate use.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2018 1:25 pm
by tastrax
I would also like to know why there is no Lease/Licence in the area where the helipad / landing site is located. That also needs to be monitored, along with any access tracks, for their impacts and should be part of any lease area ... kId=328337

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2018 2:54 pm
by stepbystep
The data from that layer shows it was last revised in May 2015. Which in itself is very interesting.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2018 8:37 pm
by vertigrator
I just had a look on that Crown Leases layer. I was fascinated that all the mountain bike tracks for Blue Derby and Maydena are leases that just appear to cover the track and maybe a 1m buffer zone. That's a very complex shaped lease boundary!

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2018 8:45 pm
by vertigrator
Can someone explain why the Tas Walking Company private huts on the Overland Track aren't showing as Crown Leases, yet the ski huts in Mount Field are?

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Wed 14 Nov, 2018 10:20 am
by Son of a Beach
stepbystep wrote:The data from that layer shows it was last revised in May 2015. Which in itself is very interesting.

I wouldn't attribute too much to the date in that metadata. I think that applies to the metadata revision rather than the actual data. I know that is how it is used for at least some other layers (including those that my work supplies to the LIST).

The actual data is certainly revised more frequently than that. At work we get a feed of that data, and it was updated on the 22nd of October this year.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Wed 14 Nov, 2018 4:46 pm
by Nuts
vertigrator wrote:Can someone explain why the Tas Walking Company private huts on the Overland Track aren't showing as Crown Leases, yet the ski huts in Mount Field are?

Yes, that's an interesting question (there are lot's of worthwhile questions). I had thought they must not have been leases until seeing this proposal involves one. Perhaps they aren't; among the many rumour/truths, in the early days it was mentioned the private huts agreement included an offering to give up space to public hut overflows.

Given they have no effective commercial opposition in business, I think it's a bit unfair their arrangement with our parks service isn't publicly available.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Wed 14 Nov, 2018 4:58 pm
by Nuts
Nuts wrote: among the many rumour/truths, in the early days it was mentioned the private huts agreement included an offering to give up space to public hut overflows.

..which never sounded quite right to me, i should say.

Then, with the benefit of hindsight, seeing the huts business take off with the addition of a 5th hut (& assuming the only reason for 4 was to placate the carer's of the day), I can imagine 'they' said anything...

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2018 9:33 am
by gayet

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2018 12:15 pm
by Nuts
Daniel's camping option would be a lower price point and you'd expect would introduce the WHA to more people. The common agreement, whereby the unused sites/dates are shared with the public, would surely make participation possible for more people.

Not limiting the number of public walkers under a lease arrangement would give opportunity for more people to be introduced to the 'wilderness'.

He's not making sense. That concept, in developing wild places, doesn't make sense.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Sat 17 Nov, 2018 6:42 am
by stepbystep
The new battle for Tasmania
Premier Will Hodgman’s quest to open Tasmania for business has led to a spectacular fall-out on the Apple Isle.


From The Weekend Australian Magazine
November 16, 201818 MIN READ
A black snake slithers across our path as we head towards Lake Malbena inside Tasmania’s remote Wilderness World Heritage Area. We have zero mobile phone reception and the tramp back along overgrown tracks would not secure a life-saving dose of antivenene in time. I keep one step behind fly-fisherman Greg French and his mate, who both hunt trout in the crystal clear lakes that thread through the central plateau like freshwater pearls. They know this landscape intimately from countless expeditions over decades. French mapped fisheries here almost 30 years ago. He alerted archaeologists to the indigenous ­petroglyph he found carved into a rock face on a ­sheltered slope next to a tarn. Now he’s threatening a blockade here to stop helicopters landing beside Hall’s Island in Lake Malbena for a fly-in fly-out boutique adventure tourism business. French believes this hallowed ground should be free from mechanical access. “The mere fact that wild places survive and are accessible only through a degree of personal effort and sacrifice exhilarates us,” he says. “Wilderness is transcendental. Uplifting.”

We have walked for eight hours, over fallen trunks, through thick tea-trees and spiky hakea to reach the shores of the lake where guests will be ferried across the water for a three-night experience in the wild on the 8ha island named after Reg Hall, a Launceston bushwalker and ­lawyer who made this his secret hideaway more than half a century ago. Kayaking, fishing, swimming, walking to nearby Mount Oana or the petroglyph site are drawcards enough but the crowning glory of this place is seclusion within nature’s arms. The quirky rough-hewn shelter Hall constructed around a handsome stone ­fireplace is barely visible through the groves of native King Billy, celery top and ­pencil pines ­skirting the rocky shore.

Daniel and Simone Hackett. Picture: Chris Kidd
Daniel and Simone Hackett. Picture: Chris Kidd
Tourism operators ­Daniel and Simone Hackett have won conditional approval to build three accommodation pods, a communal dining area and helipad here as they surf the slipstream of Premier Will Hodgman’s quest to make Tasmania the eco-tourism capital of the world. This temple of tranquillity has been rezoned from “wilderness” to “self-reliant recreation” in the hustle for ­tourism’s holy grail — cashed-up, nature-hungry city dwellers keen for immersion in the planet’s shrinking reserves of canopied forests and coastal habitats. National parks have historically offered a limited range of huts and lodges, but pressure for commercial gain through a share of this fast-­growing market signals a seismic shift from their traditional role as guardians.

Other states are scrambling for a share. Last month Queensland invited expressions of interest for eco-tourism ventures in three national parks including Hinchinbrook Island in the Great ­Barrier Reef Marine Park. South Australia is ­negotiating with the Australian Walking Company (AWC) to build luxury lodges on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail in Flinders Chase National Park, while the Northern Territory is expected to grant this company the same privilege on a walking trail in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland. Picture: Getty Images
Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland. Picture: Getty Images
“Experiences are what people are after and nature is topping that list,” says Brett Godfrey, the former Virgin Australia CEO who holds a ­minority share in AWC and recently acquired the Tasmanian Walking Company (TWC), which ­pioneered commercial huts on the Overland Track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair in the state’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. Also chair of Tourism & Events Queensland, Godfrey has been lobbying hard to unlock scenic-based tourism, describing himself as an “environmental capitalist” who believes the best conservation strategy is to ­showcase parks and wild places so that visitors will fall in love with them.

“Wilderness lodges is a non sequitur,” scoffs Bob Brown, father of the Greens, who has sweated long and hard to protect treasured sites from ­logging, mining and hydro. Aghast at “the ­privatisation of national parks across the country”, Brown’s foundation supports The Wilderness ­Society’s campaign against a raft of proposed ­projects inside these sanctuaries. “We will end up with wilderness lodges all over the state and no wilderness at all. Not just in Tasmania — this is happening all over the country.” He argues Lake Malbena, in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, “is the thin edge of the wedge”.

The sun is lowering as a westerly breeze ripples the skin of the lake where we sit absorbed by the quiet beauty, each of us lost in thought. Malbena is an indigenous word for wild drake. My escort, Greg French, known as “Trout”, led local tourism operator Daniel Hackett to these shores. The two men became close friends through a mutual love of fly-fishing. French served as a guide for ­Hackett’s fly-fishing business running excursions to remote Lake Ina, east of Lake St Clair. They worked together carting in materials and constructing the small standing camp of huts. French was the go-between who introduced Hackett, 38, to Reg Hall’s daughter, poet Liz McQuilkin, who gifted the lease she’d inherited to the young entrepreneur for the princely sum of $1. Now 77, McQuilkin is confident Hackett will prove a fitting custodian of her father’s legacy. She’s not overly fussed by helicopters flying people in and out. Choppers already service existing lodges and public huts on the Overland Track.

Reg Hall Hut on Halls Island. Picture: Chris Crerar
Reg Hall Hut on Halls Island. Picture: Chris Crerar
But French, 56, a writer who has tramped wild rivers all over the world, is “devastated” by the ­heresy of such easy transport because it upends the wild’s sacred tenet of remoteness. He and Hackett have fallen out spectacularly. In Tasmania, where degrees of separation are fractional, this is an intense tussle that touches on deeply held convictions. French waded through mud to save the Franklin River. He’s watched the near-extinction of Tasmanian kelp forests, the bleaching of Great Barrier Reef coral, the disappearance of glaciers in Patagonia and New Zealand, the dieback of British Columbia’s conifer forests. Hackett is younger. He has witnessed the rise of time-poor millennials unfamiliar with tent pegs and the emergence of ­off-grid technology that can minimise carbon footprints. “We can do a type of tourism now that we couldn’t do 30 years ago,” he says. “When does my generation get to choose what we do for the future?”

In the fading light I follow French over the ridge and down by a slope of springy sphagnum, pineapple grass and cushion plants, above the place where helicopters would land. He points to the spot where he’ll peg his tent in protest to stop the mechanical beast from landing if a legal ­challenge now underway fails to secure one of the world’s last vestiges of wild.

Inside the boutique Henry Jones Art Hotel overlooking Hobart’s historic wharves, iced platters of freshly shucked oysters and champagne are laid on for the September launch of the ­Tasmanian Walking Company’s guided four-day walk along the Three Capes Track inside the Tasman National Park. Premier Will Hodgman, who is also minister for parks, is here to toast the company’s swish lodges. A huge screen cycles through photographs of fine interiors, a glass of pinot and gourmet meal always in reach, with spectacular ocean views of the pillared dolerite cliffs ribbing this rugged coastline. The state’s tourism chief John Fitzgerald has barely had time to shower and change since returning from the debut guided walk with a group of journalists, me included, all of us seduced by the cushioned comfort of an exhilarating challenge. As the author of a forthcoming book on the dreamers who opened up Cradle Mountain early last century, I’m intrigued by Tasmania’s wonders.

The bus driver who’d collected us from ­Fortescue Bay, where the Three Capes Track ends, wryly referred to the straggle of people on this crescent of shore as “a crowd”, astutely fingering the raw nerve of locals who have had paradise to themselves for so long they are disquieted by its sudden popularity. “Be careful what you wish for,” he joked as he wondered how to deliver us back to Hobart for the launch party now that the city has a peak hour.

The skyline is crowded with cranes as tourist numbers climb steeply and an economy that had stalled finds its pulse. Visitors are drawn by the MONA phenomenon and the jewels of Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park and Cradle ­Mountain, which between them attract more than 600,000 visitors a year. China’s President Xi ­Jinping promoted the island as a worthy destination after his 2014 visit hooked eyeballs in a country bitten by the travel bug. Tasmania’s tourism growth leads the national average, stoking public anxiety over hotly contested plans for a cable car up Mt Wellington and a vast tourist village that would swamp the tiny east coast town of Swansea. Hundreds attended a town hall meeting in August to demand more transparency and consultation over developments. When seen against ferment in Venice and Barcelona, where citizens are sick of trinket shops and invading hordes, the Tasmanian backlash may seem an overreaction. But many locals and some operators warn an open-slather approach to growth will ruin the artisanal strengths that draw tourists here and endanger wild places that are certain to become even more precious and sought after as gridlocked cities burst at the seams.

The battle over national parks crosses state borders as governments eye off revenue streams from commercial leases promising ­tourism jobs, regional spending, more rangers. Precedents for private accommodation in national parks date back to the turn of last century with chalets at Mt Buffalo in Victoria, Kosciuszko in NSW, and Cradle Mountain’s valley. As early as 1914, when barely a trickle visited Cradle Mountain’s glacial ­landscape, those who loved its isolation worried about letting the secret out. The ­solace of wilderness has been an evangelising force throughout history, from Henry David ­Thoreau’s Walden to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.

The surge of adventure tourism based on iconic walks beckons a new era of encroachment. Queensland’s tourism minister, Kate Jones, made no secret that her state was seeking to emulate ­Tasmania’s success when she invited companies to tender for 60-year leases to build and run ­“eco-accommodation” in three wilderness areas: Hinchinbrook Island, Australia’s largest island national park; Whitsunday Islands National Park; and a coastal trail in the Great Sandy National Park. Her timing could not have been worse. ­Pioneering conservationist Margaret Thorsborne, who with her late husband Arthur had dedicated her life to preserving wildlife and flora on Hinchinbrook, with a 32km wilderness trail along the island’s east coast named in their honour, had barely been laid to rest when the news broke. For years, rangers have limited the numbers of overnight campers for the sake of its fragile ecological integrity.

Amendments to Queensland’s conservation law in 2013 prepared for heightened activity in places where experiments with eco-tourism had a patchy record. The ruins of Hinchinbrook Island’s Cape Richards resort, slammed by Cyclone Yasi then destroyed by fire, sit forlorn among the ­frangipani and pines, the pool covered in green slime, awaiting resurrection.

When Tasmania first allowed private huts to operate beside public huts along the Overland Track 30 years ago there were only 84 walkers a year. Now about 9000 people complete the 65km track annually. Rangers stagger numbers with a daily cap of 60 starting from the north. The state modelled its enterprise on New Zealand’s Milford Track, jealous of that country’s clever promotion of its natural treasures. Bob Brown opposed the Overland huts. “If it had kept at that, life would go on,” he says, likening the spread of red dots ­flagging new developments in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area to an outbreak of measles. In April the state government put ­forward plans to rezone Frenchmans Cap in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park from wilderness to recreation; a prohibition on huts was lifted and $3 million gifted to green-light “six environmentally sensitive” huts along an 85km stretch of coastal track in the state’s far south; Halls Island has been rezoned for commercial use; and a $70,000 grant is funding plans for the proposed upgrade of a track around Lake Geeves at the foot of Federation Peak in Tasmania’s Southwest National Park.

“Will Hodgman has spent his life opposing the environmentalists who have protected these areas,” Brown says. “Now they are protected he arrives on the scene happy to be led by tourist industry supremos who want to open the floodgates.” He has consistently argued that national parks are public places that should not be squandered in the ­interests of private profit.

As the biggest industry player, Brett Godfrey hascrafted an expert defence to allay fears of ­barbarians at the gate. “In-park tourism doesn’t have to involve greed, eco-vandalism or the loss of biodiversity,” he says, describing the phone book of compliance ­regulations that govern the TWC’s leases. “Nobody would claim New Zealand has buggered up the Milford Track.” But he concedes the act of building any infrastructure disturbs nature. “No matter how light the impact, you are moving stuff around, rocks, trees.” His light-hearted admission moments later that “the Exxon Valdez was not meant to hit a rock” exposes the fault line in this debate.

The TWC has an unblemished record but Godfrey is a relative newcomer to this business and a recent convert to nature walks. His first ­venture into the wilderness in 2012 gave immediate flight to fancying its untapped potential. “My passion for highly inflammable cylinders that fly at 30,000 feet and produce nitrous oxide and ­carbon by the tonne has waned,” says the former Virgin boss, “and now I am most passionate about another tourism product.”

Joan Masterman, who with Ken Latone pioneered commercial huts on the Overland Track, now run by Godfrey’s TWC, treads more carefully. “The government has gone a bit mad. They’ve got to watch it. All these places are pristine and beautiful because they were saved by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society. It can tip over and turn something precious into something terrible. The last thing you want to do is go on a nature experience and have city noises impinging on your consciousness.”

Godfrey says he is “super, super passionate about making this work for everyone. I very strongly believe our national parks and world heritage areas are irreplaceable and must be protected but that should not mean they are simply the domain of backpackers.” The target demographic for adventure travel is middle-aged people willing to pay $3500 for a guided journey over five days. “A beach holiday won’t cut it with this group anymore. They have time, money, better health and more than anything else they want experiences.”

Those wary of commercial intrusion are accused of athletic elitism, of wanting these glorious spaces kept for trekkers who can pitch a tent. Godfrey understands the importance of walking in to wild places to feel their timeless significance. None of his companies’ signature walks drops ­people at the door of the lodges, which tick every box on the sustainable off-grid spectrum. But like most good businesses his appetite for scale is ­insatiable and the AWC, held in partnership with former Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon, is now pursuing leases for lodges and walks in South Australia (Kangaroo Island), Northern Territory (Kata Tjuta) and NSW (the Blue Mountains). “The Blue Mountains is the most popular park in Australia but you can’t sleep in a bed in the park,” Godfrey says.

NSW has 134 commercial operators in its parks but 120 of these are confined to the Thredbo ski village. Western Australia has “eco-tourism” lodges in four national parks with a new development proposed at Millstream Chichester National Park. Victoria is the toughest to crack with commercial leases held to 21 years. “Nobody would buy a house for 21 years,” notes Godfrey, who has his eye on a new trail in the Grampians. “It’s going to open up once they get compliance procedures sorted out.” His TWC has a separate wish-list for additional huts on the Overland Track as well as a lodge at Lake Rodway near Cradle Mountain.

“Every state and territory has natural iconic assets that if carefully opened to low-impact adventure tourism I would gladly, along with many others, seek to invest in… the rest of Australia now realises this is a competitive market,” he says. “It is much smarter to manage national parks by forcing people to stay in guided camps than putting up tents. If you want people to protect national parks they have to care about them, and I guarantee whoever goes in comes out as an advocate for wild spaces.”

Opponents challenge the logic that bringing more people into these places guarantees their survival. They argue we already have state laws and international conventions protecting Australia’s natural heritage but these checks and balances are being eroded in the rush to embrace tourist ­activities. Vica Bayley, Tasmanian campaign ­manager for The Wilderness Society, says there has been a philosophical creep from the idea of parks for preservation to the notion of parks ­turning a profit. “The Tasmanian government has perverted proper planning processes. Expressions of interest are secret. There is no consultation. Anything that poses a barrier to development is dismantled,” he says, pointing to the rezoning of Lake Malbena. “This zoning change was not publicly announced, nor was it subject to community consultation, and it was not assessed against the need to protect ­outstanding universal wilderness values. Every roadblock to development in these places is being removed by sleight of hand.”

The National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council, an independent statutory body that advises the state and federal governments, did not support the Lake Malbena project because of ­concerns about helicopter access and whether the proposed accommodation pods met the definition of “standing camp”. But both levels of government waved it through. The Wilderness Society has launched a federal court challenge.

Environmental groups in Queensland fear a similar briskness of due diligence under the 2013 amendments permitting eco-tourism facilities within park boundaries. Work is progressing on a 76km trail with luxury huts for walkers and ­mountain bike riders to travel from Palm Cove to Port Douglas through two World Heritage-listed zones. “Nobody is sure of the new process,” says Sean Ryan, principal solicitor from the state’s Environmental Defenders Office. “There is growing concern these proposals will be fast-tracked with no mandatory requirement for full environmental impact statements.”

Weeks after the TWC launched its guided walk along the Three Capes Track, Premier Hodgman extended the deadline for operators competing to design the next iconic tourist experience because of “massive interest”, adding: “The Overland and the Three Capes tracks have captured the world’s attention and are a major drawcard for visitors.”

Tasmanian tourism operator Simon Currant, who took over and expanded Cradle Mountain Lodge in the mid ’80s, recalls scant opposition because the resort was outside the park border. More recently he turned Pumphouse Point, at the southern end of Lake St Clair, into a luxury ­destination, avoiding controversy because the ­infrastructure already existed. “I’m totally for growth,” he says. “But not for growth that wrecks our brand.” He slams the proposed Cambria Green development at Swansea as “a blot on the landscape”. “I was a voice in the wilderness,” he says of his 16 years on the state’s tourism board. “I fought and fought. What is their strategy? It’s mass ­tourism. It should be niche. More small is better.” He supports ­Hackett’s development at Lake ­Malbena. “There is enough for everyone,” he says. “Again it’s a matter of managing it. I’ve just visited Yellowstone [in the US]. They get five million ­people. They manage the numbers. You minimise the impact.” The cable car slated for Dove Lake, near ­Cradle Mountain, wins his support as a way of ­easing ­traffic on the narrow road to this glacial basin.

“What are they going to do next?” pleads veteran conservationist Geoff Law, who describes himself as “a shocked onlooker” of plans for lodges, tracks and helicopter access inside World Heritage areas. “Each infrastructure will beget another until the wilderness is gradually degraded with squadrons of helicopters flying over bringing in bed linen and taking out vats of excrement. How confident can we be that the government will properly ­adjudicate what is appropriate within these remote, sensitive, ­special secluded places? Parks and ­Wildlife has gone from protector to developer.”

In a 2015 address to tourism ministers, ­Godfrey raised the spectre of bigger lodges to cater for Korean and Chinese visitors who prefer groups of more than 20. He told them New Zealand hogs this market because its park accommodation sleeps up to 50 walkers a night whereas Australia limits capacity to a maximum of 20. “That in itself is a road block worthy of consideration.”

An echidna snuffles along a grassy stretch beside Olive Lagoon not far from Lake Malbena as we approach the boundary of the World Heritage area on our homeward tramp. “Daniel could land his helicopter here,” Greg French says, pointing to an old dirt logging road that ­terminates at the fringe of this wild place. “So much for ­self-reliance,” he jokes in a dig at the rezoning of Halls Island to accommodate Hackett’s proposed venture. His concern stems from his belief that “the healthiest natural ­environments are found in the middle of big, well-protected nature reserves”. Walking in rewards visitors with sights and sounds worth every ounce of physical effort.

Three years ago, Hackett opposed a proposal for float plane and helicopter access at Lake Ina, where he runs guided fly-fishing trips because “the disturbance and increased human pressure…would have a strong negative impact” on the seclusion and privacy of guests. “That was a thought bubble,” he tells me now, his hackles raised in the heat of dissent. “We’ve been vilified and bullied,” he says of The Wilderness Society’s efforts to block his plan to fly in about 30 parties of six guests a year. “They want to make an example of us so that nobody does anything bigger. It’s politics. We’ve been extremely open. We’re not going to fight the Greens. There has always been that part of Tasmania led by a select group who refuse to have any generational change. We’re just going to do a *&%$#! good job with a type of ­tourism we couldn’t do 30 years ago.”

When I visit Reg Hall’s daughter Liz McQuilkin at home in Hobart she spreads photographs and maps of her father’s “spiritual” retreat on the ­dining room table. “I was a custodian. I wanted someone who would look after it and respect it. The main issue is the helicopter,” she concedes. “But Dan says there will be relatively few flights and only over a few kilometres of the wilderness area. You can’t lock up everything forever.” She shudders at the controversy. She only accompanied her father here once, in her 20s, riding in with several of his friends on horseback. Reg insisted on walking in. She says he always carried a sawn-off shotgun and a vial of antivenene as protection from snakes.

I’m still on a high from sleeping out, inhaling lungfuls of fresh air, traipsing through forest, ­skirting lagoons and lakes so clear you can see the trout, by the end of the trek able to lift my gaze more often instead of scouring the ground for snakes. My two companions were oblivious to the threat, far more rattled by another presence ­lurking in our final earthly frontiers.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Sat 17 Nov, 2018 9:16 am
by bushwalker zane
Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing that one SBS. Looks like this issue is starting to gain more attention on the mainland, and no doubt it will continue to with TWS taking the Malbena proposal to the Federal Court.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Sat 17 Nov, 2018 9:29 am
by Nuts
Does NZ have a purpose (profit first) built track in it's WHA with that sole profit to an exclusive operator offering lodge accommodation?
(ie. not profit to the public coffers, and not to any other facilitated level of participation)

A vision of populating our parks to anything like the extent of Yellowstone would leave a sad remnant of a wilderness experience.

The tourism economy is booming, yet none of these proposals are underway.

We really need higher protections (from governments of the day) enshrined in our constitution.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Mon 19 Nov, 2018 6:57 am
by gayet
stepbystep wrote:From The Weekend Australian Magazine

The editorial was also on this article. Unfortunately it pushed the claim that these areas shouldn't be accessible only to the hardcode hiker. I don't have a copy of the editorial with me and I don't subscribe so can't quote it directly. It wsa disappointing to read that response.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 20 Nov, 2018 12:12 pm
by bogholesbuckethats
EMILY BAKER, State Political Reporter, Mercury
November 19, 2018 9:48pm

ANGLERS, bushwalkers and the Commonwealth’s own heritage advisory body told the Federal Government of their strong opposition to the controversial Lake Malbena luxury tourism development ahead of it receiving the green light.

The bulk of the 129 submissions made to the federal Environment Department and released under Freedom of Information laws expressed serious concerns about the processes that allowed the proposed helicopter-accessed standing camp in the World Heritage-listed Walls of Jerusalem National Park to proceed to the Commonwealth approvals stage.

The Australian Heritage Council, the Federal Government’s principal adviser on heritage, said the proposal’s buildings, helipads and tracks did not conform to the zoning prescriptions of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area management plan.

It said its “several fundamental concerns” were not addressed in the information received from proponents Daniel and Simone Hackett, of Wild Drake.

“The cumulative impact on both world heritage and natural heritage values would be considerable, particularly noting the impact of helicopters on the outstanding natural aesthetic value of the wilderness area in which it is situated,” the body said.

Federal Environment Department assessments and governance deputy secretary James Barker ultimately signed off on the Lake Malbena proposal on behalf of Environment Minister Melissa Price partly on the grounds that Mr and Mrs Hackett had agreed to a series of measures aimed at mitigating the development’s impact on the surrounding wilderness.

Mr Hackett said on Monday his proposal was “tiny” and that the management prescriptions and conditions attached to his licence were legally binding.

“There will be no helicopter use for more than 305 days per year or so, and for the remaining days our flight time is restricted to between 18 and 36 minutes use only,” Mr Hackett said.

“As tourism operators we are held to the highest standards of accountability in the country — far higher than recreational users – and something we welcome as we strive to be the best in the world.”

The proposal would have about 120 chopper flights carrying tourists through the Walls of Jerusalem each year with the flight path mapped to avoid eagles’ nests and walking tracks. However, Mr Barker said last week he was not sure how many flights there would be in total as he was not sure of the servicing and maintenance requirements

Anglers Alliance Tasmania, representing about 27,000 of the state’s licensed freshwater anglers, said helicopter access would have a significant impact on the “remoteness, silence and connectivity to nature” enjoyed by bushwalking anglers.

Several submissions made to the Commonwealth by people who regularly visited the area attacked the State Government’s expressions of interest process, which invites unsolicited proposals for development in the state’s national parks, reserves and Crown Land.

The Tasmanian Fly Tyers’ Club said there was strong concern within its club the Lake Malbena proposal would “open the floodgates to future similar proposals whose approvals will have been facilitated and to which objection will become increasingly futile”.

Another person wrote: “People are attracted to Tasmania by our wilderness areas but the present state government seems hellbent on destroying the core value of wildness for the sake of commercial gain by a very small number of operators.”

The State Government also came under fire for rezoning the Lake Malbena area from “wilderness” to “self-reliant recreational zone” — a change that would allow for development.

Mr Hackett said: “The 1999 zoning showed Halls Island and the private hut to be 20 metres or so to the west of the ‘self-reliant’ boundary, that ran in an undefined fashion through the waters of Lake Malbena.

“Whether this was a historical zoning error or otherwise I’m not sure, but to paraphrase the recent words of leading conservationists, wilderness zones and huts are a non sequitur: a contradiction.”

Premier Will Hodgman, also Tourism and Parks Minister, last week called on Tasmanians to back tourism proposals that “jump all the high hurdles that local, state and commonwealth governments set”.

The Central Highlands Council, the Hackett’s final hurdle, on Monday said it had received a development application for the Halls Island development.

Mayor Loueen Triffitt acknowledged public interest in the proposal and said it would be advertised for public comment “in due course”.

The Wilderness Society will challenge the Federal Government’s process of approving Lake Malbena in the Federal Court in March.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Wed 21 Nov, 2018 11:43 am
by Nuts
Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 12.35.36 pm.png

that makes sense, if you can manage to read it.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Wed 21 Nov, 2018 7:32 pm
by bogholesbuckethats
A great article, thanks for posting that Nuts. Here is the original article from Nature Ecology & Evolution, might be a bit easier to read.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2018 10:10 am
by Lost
Once the Hacketts have got this Halls Island up and running they should then go over and do the same at North Sentinel Island. Take Brett Godfrey along with them.Its right up there ally.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2018 10:34 am
by north-north-west
Lost wrote:Once the Hacketts have got this Halls Island up and running they should then go over and do the same at North Sentinel Island. Take Brett Godfrey along with them.Its right up their ally.

I'd rather they did a trial there first. Just to make sure it's a viable set-up, you understand.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Sat 24 Nov, 2018 10:48 am
by Lost
north-north-west wrote:
Lost wrote:Once the Hacketts have got this Halls Island up and running they should then go over and do the same at North Sentinel Island. Take Brett Godfrey along with them.Its right up their ally.

I'd rather they did a trial there first. Just to make sure it's a viable set-up, you understand.

So long as they take Brett Godfrey along. He has the gift of the gab. Should be able to placate the locals no worries.Daniel will think the locals are just a bunch of pesky greenies standing in his way.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Mon 26 Nov, 2018 7:18 am
by bogholesbuckethats
Tomorrow at 1pm - Hobart Town Hall

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Mon 26 Nov, 2018 7:21 am
by bushwalker zane
bogholesbuckethats wrote:Tomorrow at 1pm - Hobart Town Hall

I've room in my car for one more. Heading down from Launceston.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Mon 26 Nov, 2018 10:00 am
by stepbystep
Some beautiful imagery of Malbena and surrounds from Grant Dixon, taken last week. ... age=1&id=0

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Mon 26 Nov, 2018 1:11 pm
by bogholesbuckethats
We’re not radical greens, say anti-Lake Malbena fishers and walkers
EMILY BAKER, State Political Reporter, Mercury
November 26, 2018 12:24pm

FISHERS and walkers campaigning against a proposed helicopter-accessed luxury development in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park have hit out at the Government and tourism industry for dismissing them as green activists.

Fishers and Walkers Against Helicopter Access last month held a protest in Launceston against the Lake Malbena standing camp proposal.

Co-spokesman Mitchell Crowden said the group had no affiliation with the Greens or Wilderness Society and called on Premier, Parks and Tourism Minister Will Hodgman to meet his group’s members.

“It seems they fear this large moderate community element of opposition, and refuse to acknowledge it,” Mr Crowden said.

“The proposal has no social licence.”

However, project proponent Daniel Hackett said he did not believe the group’s claim it was not linked to the Greens or Wilderness Society as it had reposted press releases on its Facebook page from both groups.

Mr Hackett said: “As a small family business it is horrific to hear the extremes that this small group of anglers are willing to go to in order to destroy us personally, destroy our business, and all in the fear of other projects that don’t even exist.”

Mr Hackett and his wife Simone’s proposed standing camp on Halls Island in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area would have about 120 flights into the Walls of Jerusalem each year.

Fewer than five of 129 submissions to the Federal Government stating opposition to the project were from typically green groups.

The bulk were from walkers and fishers, including Anglers Alliance Tasmania, which represents about 27,000 members.

The Australian Heritage Council and the Aboriginal Heritage Council also urged the federal government not to approve the project.

The proposal has received the green light from the state and federal governments and Mr Hodgman has called on Tasmanians to back tourism developments that tick the boxes.

Mr Crowden emphasised his group was not anti-development or anti-tourism and suggested Wild Drake instead consider flying tourists to the edge of the World Heritage Area and walking to Lake Malbena.

“The rules have been bent to allow [this development] and we’re constantly told the process has been rigorous by the development side, when in fact it’s been revealed in numerous leaked documents that almost every bit of official advice sought, recommended the development not go ahead,” Mr Crowden said.

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin acknowledged the group’s opposition to the proposal but said: “I’d urge them to be careful they’re not being used by the conservation movement.”

Meanwhile, the Wilderness Society will today release a report it commissioned from wilderness consultant Martin Hawes which found the development would lead to “significant loss” of wilderness character at Lake Malbena and surrounds should it go ahead.

“[Wilderness character] would also be significantly affected by overflights in the vicinity of the proposed helicopter flight path,” the report said.

Re: Luxury camp inside Walls of Jerusalem WHA with heli acce

PostPosted: Tue 27 Nov, 2018 7:57 am
by gayet