Bald Rock. Tenterfield. Photo Contributed
Bald Rock. Tenterfield. Photo Contributed

Park closure issue for tourism

CALLS to re-open Bald Rock National Park are gaining momentum as the Christmas holidays approaches.

The popular walking and climbing park has been closed since bushfires swept through seven months ago.

Retired tourism operator Buko Vogel said he had been fielding calls from disappointed visitors who had wanted to explore Australia’s largest granite rock.

“There doesn’t seem to be any movement; nothing has been happening at Bald Rock since February,” said Mr Vogel.

“The council should put pressure on national parks because this is one of the main tourist attractions for the Tenterfield area.

“A lot of visitors are disappointed that they can’t go up there.

“All I can say is why don’t they keep the camping closed if they are worried about safety and let people do the walks.

“They could check the trees and cut off any dangerous branches and re-open the park to the public. You are never going to be 100 per cent safe in the bush.”

Tenterfield Mayor Peter Petty said he would like to see the park opened “as soon as possible” but was confident in the decision-making of New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

“We are working with national parks. It’s all about relationships and we are happy to work with them,” said Cr Petty.

“They’ll get it open in time.”

An alert on the Bald Rock National Park website warns that the entire park — which includes 14 camp sites — is closed due to safety concerns following the bushfires.

There is also an extensive fore ban in place.

Although his Bald Rock Bush Retreat is no longer operating, Mr Vogel said the indefinite closure of the granite park was not good for tourism in a region already struggling with drought.

“It’s a hell of a long time since it closed. They have opened other national parks like Girraween much faster,” he said.

A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said work was being done as fast as possible however recent bushfires had diverted many staff away from the restoration.

“National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff have spent the last few months addressing the hazardous trees and have started to remove the damaged infrastructure,” the spokesperson said.

“Providing a safe experience in Bald Rock National Park is the principal reason for the park remaining closed.

“NPWS is aiming to open up sections of the park once they are safe, however with staff currently engaged on the major fires right across the Northern Tablelands this is expected to take some time. “

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