Your Mountains Need You - Koscuiszko NP is under attack

action goat

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Hi All. It’s James McCormack, Editor of Wild Magazine. Hey all, it’s time to get your bums into gear and make submissions for the Kosciuszko Draft Plan of Management. There are so many troubling elements to what’s being proposed, but for backcountry skiers in particular, the prospect of commercial choppers buzzing about overhead is terrible. We need to take a stand. And don't think this is a NSW-only issue. The moment choppers are buzzing around Thredbo and Perisher and elsewher in KNP, don't think that Hotham and Falls and the rest in Victoria won't be clamouring for some of the same action.

I hope this doesn’t break any forum rules by posting about some of our content here, but I think it’s genuinely relevant here. We’ve put up a page on our site https://wild.com.au/opinion/your-mountains-need-you/ that gives a primer on what’s at stake here with these developments, and has links to other blogs on the subject like the fine ones from Cam Walker at Mountain Journal, and by Jed Coppa. The window for comments closes soon, on August 23. Get in there, and do what you can to fight this.
 

action goat

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@action goat still have a copy of your article from Men's Health from 2008 :thumbs:

Reading links and will attend to.
Yeah, I loved doing the 'research' for that story. Well, maybe the bit about getting disoriented in a whiteout and then having to pick my way through the rocks on East Twynam in zero viz after dark wasn't that great, but the rest of it was.
 

zapruda

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I’m really happy to see so many people posting their displeasure at these horrendous proposals.

As @action goat said, please write and submit a response to the proposed changes in the POM and Master plan.

It doesn’t have to be lengthy or in depth just pick some points you are against or for and write. Even a couple of paragraphs will do.

The NSW NPA is leading the charge in this fight. They have some excellent talking points and submission guides.

Here - https://npansw.org.au/2021/07/29/reckless-plans-for-kosciuszko-national-park-must-be-stopped/

This is the future of KNP if this shit gets through

E0909C93-7051-4C1F-ACF0-9AD5FBF7A91D.jpeg
 

CaptainC

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Yes, I've sent a submission. It's a disconcerting trend , trying to make a buck any way out of National Parks. The Falls - Hotham crossing in Vic is another example and in Tasmania they seem to be all over the place. Essentially it's privatising Parks for the benefit of high income people.
 

Legs Akimbo

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Yes, I've sent a submission. It's a disconcerting trend , trying to make a buck any way out of National Parks. The Falls - Hotham crossing in Vic is another example and in Tasmania they seem to be all over the place. Essentially it's privatising Parks for the benefit of high income people.
Except that none of the proposals exclude anyone.
 

art

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Except that none of the proposals exclude anyone
Well yes and no. No one would propose to exclude anyone in a national park because that would make the path to approval more difficult then it already is.

However, a proponent generally doesn't go through a difficult and expensive approval process unless they can see a unique opportunity for profit and that opportunity is usually being able to offer an exclusive experience. By definition there is some level of exclusion of someone else.

There is also exclusion by taking away something that already exists. Develop porcupine rocks and you have taken away the opportunity to experience that place undeveloped.
Helicopters take away the opportunity for the quiet enjoyment of anywhere they come near.
Change island bend and it potentially goes from a low cost getaway in the mountains to excluding those in society that can only afford the cheapest camping options.

So sure there might not be explicit exclusion in the proposals but it definitely exists.
 
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Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
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This page, on the NPWS web site for KNP will appal you. So many people already being excluded!!! I bet you wouldn't realise that people you walk past are already excluding you by paying to do adventure.

As for Porcupine Rocks, is there any suggestion that the lookout will be a commercial monstrosity like the Grand Canyon thing?
 

Dropbear

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Except that none of the proposals exclude anyone.

It appears that the language here is not quite right, hence the confusion. "Exclude" wasn't a term that other people used here.

The issue is all about how park users impact upon one another.

At the moment, lots of people can enjoy the park without limiting the enjoyment of everyone else in the park.

However, if the SAP proposals proceed, then helicopter trips or commercial vehicle trips to the summit will only be used by a minority of visitors (because these are not mass-market activities), and these people will pay a lot of money for these experiences.

The majority of park users won't be flying in helicopters or being driven in commercial vehicles, but their quiet enjoyment of the park will be heavily impacted by the high fee paying minority.

That is inequitable.
 

art

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This page, on the NPWS web site for KNP will appal you


Not at all.
I'm not anti some level of commercial operation. I was pointing out that it can exclude if taken too far.

Looks like all those operator in that link are running under basically the same access arrangements everyone else has. No special road access to Rawsons Pass. No helicopters. No special lodges/huts.

I've done a few guided adventures and noticed plenty that I walk past. Mostly their impact is small and not much different to a private group. That quickly changes if the rules allow it. I've seen that as well.
 

teletripper

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This page, on the NPWS web site for KNP will appal you. So many people already being excluded!!! I bet you wouldn't realise that people you walk past are already excluding you by paying to do adventure.

As for Porcupine Rocks, is there any suggestion that the lookout will be a commercial monstrosity like the Grand Canyon thing?
A key point of difference between the the NPWS commercial tour operator examples you provide is that none of those are providing anything that the general public can not undertake themselves if they have the motivation and will to organise themselves under their own steam. They have No rights of exclusive access to an area or activity unless you are a fee paying customer to a third party for that experience. What is being proposed under the SAP and POM amendment is for Commercial operators to be able to transport paying customers all the way to Rawson Pass in vehicles, in stark contrast to the general public who will not be permitted to undertake that same experience in their private vehicles. That is exclusive use. That is wrong in a National Park setting and sets a very dangerous precedent and slippery slope for the principles of how National Parks and our public lands have been managed for the last 50 years.
 

Ian D

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However, if the SAP proposals proceed, then helicopter trips or commercial vehicle trips to the summit will only be used by a minority of visitors (because these are not mass-market activities), and these people will pay a lot of money for these experiences.

The majority of park users won't be flying in helicopters or being driven in commercial vehicles, but their quiet enjoyment of the park will be heavily impacted by the high fee paying minority.

That is inequitable.

Not sure about the helicopters but what are the plans regarding the commercial vehicles?

Is the plan for a small number at specific times, under specific requirements? Or is it a free for all?

Is it to open the park to people it is currently closed to? For example, people with a wide range of disabilities and the aged and frail? I would be open to special tours to access parts of the park that are currently out of reach to for example wheel chair bound people. I would also support access to specific areas with high quality paths that the disabled and infirm could access. Rather than saying "Sorry, sucks to be you. Views are amazing, here have a look at the photos I took."

I would be opposed to a high cost luxury hummer style adventure.

The link to the napansw website seems ridiculous and highly inflammatory. From what I have seen the opening graphic is nothing like what is being proposed. And extra resort beds, meh, as long as strict environmental controls are put in place in already disturbed areas it seems to make sense rather than breaking new ground elsewhere in the park.

Perhaps I am missing something.
 

teletripper

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As for the Porcupine rocks cantilevered viewing platform, the Grand Canyon style scale is the image they use in the planning documents they have put on public exhibition as referenced by Zapruda above. Does not particularly inspire confidence that what is being proposed is low key, unobtrusive, aesthetically un-offensive, nor accessible without extra charge.
 
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teletripper

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Give me strength. You can still walk to Rawson Pass. Or you can pay to be driven (if that is the proposal) if you pay. Life's like that.
Starts as 2 cars a day ends up as ??? With creeping commercial demand. You will be amazed at how many complaints NPWS will receive as to why can not I then drive my Hilux or Commodore to Rawsons pass if it’s good enough for ‘Snowy Transport Services’ to take me there as a paying customer just because it creates a commercial opportunity for a business?
 
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Legs Akimbo

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As for the Porcupine rocks cantilevered viewing platform, the Grand Canyon style scale is the image they use in the planning documents they have put on public exhibition as referenced by Zapruda above. Does not particularly inspire confidence that what is being proposed is low key, unobtrusive, aesthetically un-offensive, nor accessible without extra charge.
They won't build it. The point of the Grand Canyon thing is that it has a glass floor and projects over a few hundred metres of vertical cliffs. A cantilever 20 metres (if that) above some scrub won't quite have the same impact. i would be all in favour of a platform like the one at Charlotte Pass.

One thing that puzzles me is the total silence about mountain bike trails. Why? They have the potential to do far more damage than anything else in the proposal. Soil Con Hut was there for a reason. Rehabilitation was a long hard road - are the mistakes to be repeated?
 
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Legs Akimbo

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Starts as 2 cars a day ends up as ??? With creeping commercial demand. You will be amazed at how many complaints NPWS will receive as to why can not I then drive my Hilux or Commodore to Rawsons pass if it’s good enough for ‘Snowy Transport Services’ to take me there as a paying customer just because it creates a commercial opportunity for a business?
Exactly. We should ban everyone from the park everywhere. Dem slippery slopes are all around us. If you are going to discuss this stuff discuss reality - not panicked imagination.
 
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dawooduck

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The urbanisation of our wild places means that our increasingly sedentary lifestyles get to pay to view.

No effort "wilderness" for that comfortable arm chair experience, a few phone cam shots and an Instagram post.

There may even be rock stacking and other inane social media derived pastimes involved.

Tour buses to Rawsons pass is total fckery.
 

climberman

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They won't build it. The point of the Grand Canyon thing is that it has a glass floor and projects over a few hundred metres of vertical cliffs. A cantilever 20 metres (if that) above some scrub won't quite have the same impact. i would be all in favour of a platform like the one at Charlotte Pass.

One thing that puzzles me is the total silence about mountain bike trails. Why? They have the potential to do far more damage than anything else in the proposal. Soil Con Hut was there for a reason. Rehabilitation was a long hard road - are the mistakes to be repeated?
Plenty of people in the conservation and public sphere complain about mountain bikes in the Park.
Currently in the actual alpine outside the resort leases mountain bikes are only allowed on selected service roads.

Trails like the Thredbo Valley Trail are technically 'walking and riding' but, well, they are hardly optimised for walking. It's a challenge.
 
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amyannick

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Is it to open the park to people it is currently closed to? For example, people with a wide range of disabilities and the aged and frail? I would be open to special tours to access parts of the park that are currently out of reach to for example wheel chair bound people. I would also support access to specific areas with high quality paths that the disabled and infirm could access. Rather than saying "Sorry, sucks to be you. Views are amazing, here have a look at the photos I took."

Honestly, I do think you are missing the main gist of the SAP. I wrote a submission and disability access is one of the things I spoke about. There is zero mention in the SAP of increasing mobility access in the park and when you dig into the proposals it is clear that none of them really try and make this a priority in any serious way.

The SAP, as I read it, is not about increasing access for the public. It is about increasing access for private commercial operations.

There was a good discussion of the raised Kosci summit path in another thread. It is clearly a good example of how one can increase access in an environmentally sensible way. Like you, I would support low impact changes to make certain places wheelchair accessible for example. But the SAP is really does not touch on anything like that and I think a lot its proposals are for things that have a high per visitor impact.

The main incompatibility between what the SAP is espousing and increasing access to the park is that it is trying to rely on privatisation in order to achieve its aims. Special tours to allow the less mobile to enjoy the park aren't going to be super profitable and therefor just isn't something that I can imagine coming out of what the SAP suggests.
 

Majikthise

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Thread has been stickied, the more people that engage with this document and make a submission can only be a good thing. I am sure there will be plenty of submissions from all sorts of park users and vested interests.
I understand the Karst folk are particularly concerned , as are the alpine ecologists and botanists that understand the risks to our alpine bio diversity better than anyone.
The signatory list to the open letter was a veritable "who's who " of australian alpine flora and ecology. If they are collectively concerned , then it rings alarm bells for me. These folk are realists and not exclusionists and very much have a history of support for risk managed approaches to conservation .
 

Legs Akimbo

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Honestly, I do think you are missing the main gist of the SAP. I wrote a submission and disability access is one of the things I spoke about. There is zero mention in the SAP of increasing mobility access in the park and when you dig into the proposals it is clear that none of them really try and make this a priority in any serious way.

The SAP, as I read it, is not about increasing access for the public. It is about increasing access for private commercial operations.

There was a good discussion of the raised Kosci summit path in another thread. It is clearly a good example of how one can increase access in an environmentally sensible way. Like you, I would support low impact changes to make certain places wheelchair accessible for example. But the SAP is really does not touch on anything like that and I think a lot its proposals are for things that have a high per visitor impact.

The main incompatibility between what the SAP is espousing and increasing access to the park is that it is trying to rely on privatisation in order to achieve its aims. Special tours to allow the less mobile to enjoy the park aren't going to be super profitable and therefor just isn't something that I can imagine coming out of what the SAP suggests.
In other words if people do not get access in a way that I approve off they are not entitled to get access. The second that someone is prevented from doing something to facilitate a commercial operation I will be up in arms. Simply providing an additional form of access doesn't perturb me in the slightest. I don't care how much money they pay to do it - it's none of my business.
 

amyannick

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In other words if people do not get access in a way that I approve off they are not entitled to get access. The second that someone is prevented from doing something to facilitate a commercial operation I will be up in arms. Simply providing an additional form of access doesn't perturb me in the slightest. I don't care how much money they pay to do it - it's none of my business.
I am honestly puzzled by your reply. I support additional access. Especially increasing mobility access. It's right there in my post?????
 
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climberman

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In other words if people do not get access in a way that I approve off they are not entitled to get access. The second that someone is prevented from doing something to facilitate a commercial operation I will be up in arms. Simply providing an additional form of access doesn't perturb me in the slightest. I don't care how much money they pay to do it - it's none of my business.
I think adding cars to what is essentially a walking track with occasional services vehicles is quite a change to a route like CP-Rawsons.
 

Legs Akimbo

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I am honestly puzzled by your reply. I support additional access. Especially increasing mobility access. It's right there in my post?????
Nothing is being "privatised" in any conventional sense of the word. Your last paragraph.
I think adding cars to what is essentially a walking track with occasional services vehicles is quite a change to a route like CP-Rawsons.
2 cars. A day. I hope they have lollipop people for you.
 

climberman

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Nothing is being "privatised" in any conventional sense of the word. Your last paragraph.

2 cars. A day. I hope they have lollipop people for you.
Every visit is an impact to walkers both out and back :)
It's a super-popular family access route where kids and folks can wander around not having to worry about cars. There's few places like that to such iconic destinations :)
 

Kletterer

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Some pics of Porcupine Rocks. First 2 pics ( same location ) is the best option for a lookout. 3rd pic is other option but cannot provide extensive views like the other location even if the deck went out a long way. Either option is not possible without considerable alteration to the existing landscape. The Burramys i spotted while sitting quietly where the first pic was taken is another matter. Perhaps he should move himself to different location.
IMG_2314.jpg
IMG_2313.jpg
IMG_2306.jpg
 

catzizme

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For those who are time poor, but want to have a say on this issue

 

blowfin

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In other words if people do not get access in a way that I approve off they are not entitled to get access. The second that someone is prevented from doing something to facilitate a commercial operation I will be up in arms. Simply providing an additional form of access doesn't perturb me in the slightest. I don't care how much money they pay to do it - it's none of my business.
Honestly filtering through all the gatekeeping sentiments has been a bit exhausting. There are a lot of good ideas in the proposal and KNP sorely needs some changes. As a visitor from interstate, the area is a pain in the arse and doesn't cater well to visitors. It can be a lumpy, shitty, expensive experience and then if you're lucky maybe you'll end up staying in a lodge with black mould. The current situation also encourages a lot of car use, the carbon footprint of everyone driving to and from Jindy must be fuckin astronomical. But let's just leave it the way it is right, because "impact".
 
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amyannick

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Nothing is being "privatised" in any conventional sense of the word. Your last paragraph.
The park's environment is a resource. For the most part it is the government that has the sole ability to exploit this resource how they see fit. Allowing private companies to use the resources is privatisation. In is, in fact, a classic example of privatisation and precisely how I would use it in a professional context too.

I don't think privatisation is inherently bad, my point was that if increased access is the aim, then privatisation has a bad track record of achieving this.
 

teletripper

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Exactly. We should ban everyone from the park everywhere. Dem slippery slopes are all around us. If you are going to discuss this stuff discuss reality - not panicked imagination.
Not panicked imagination, I can tell you from experience it is a slippery slope. It is these ‘tyranny of small decisions’ that one day you wake up and realise what has been lost. Slattery and Worboys ‘Kosciuszko: A great National Park ‘ clearly outlines the history of having to defend this area from those who want to exploit it for commercial or personal gain with inappropriate proposals rather than protect it and value for the unique area that it is.


My biggest issue with the SAP is, it is the current governments (Deputy Premiers) way of fast tracking development within these areas and removing any NPWS/ local council oversight or input into what happens and at the same time removing the opportunity for latter public/community objection to whatever is put forward as the final plans. We should all be very concerned.
 

Legs Akimbo

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The park's environment is a resource. For the most part it is the government that has the sole ability to exploit this resource how they see fit. Allowing private companies to use the resources is privatisation. In is, in fact, a classic example of privatisation and precisely how I would use it in a professional context too.

I don't think privatisation is inherently bad, my point was that if increased access is the aim, then privatisation has a bad track record of achieving this.
So when the rail people lease a shop to a private business on a station it is privatisation? Seriously?
Some pics of Porcupine Rocks. First 2 pics ( same location ) is the best option for a lookout. 3rd pic is other option but cannot provide extensive views like the other location even if the deck went out a long way. Either option is not possible without considerable alteration to the existing landscape. The Burramys i spotted while sitting quietly where the first pic was taken is another matter. Perhaps he should move himself to different location.
IMG_2314.jpg
IMG_2313.jpg
IMG_2306.jpg
Take some photos of the Charlottes platform.
 
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teletripper

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They won't build it. The point of the Grand Canyon thing is that it has a glass floor and projects over a few hundred metres of vertical cliffs. A cantilever 20 metres (if that) above some scrub won't quite have the same impact. i would be all in favour of a platform like the one at Charlotte Pass.
What was proposed for Porcupine Rocks to me just reinforces that the planning team engaged for the SAP had little experience or knowledge of the area and/or chose to ignore local input. Besides the whole area of Porcupine Rocks is very close to one of the more significant indigenous cultural sites in the area being ‘Lubra Rocks’ and I don’t think local Traditional Owners were too fussed about such proposals for such a crass over development In the vicinity

They may not build this as pictured as ‘a concept’ but once ticked off under the SAP/POM there is nothing stopping Barilaro’s Regional Development NSW rejigging the design and building a 50 metre high tower there ’to improve the view for visitors’, and neither Parks/ council nor the community will have any opportunity to provide further input or object.
 

Dropbear

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The signatory list to the open letter was a veritable "who's who " of australian alpine flora and ecology. If they are collectively concerned , then it rings alarm bells for me. These folk are realists and not exclusionists and very much have a history of support for risk managed approaches to conservation .

Do you have a link to this open letter, please Majikthise?
 

Dropbear

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Who are the customers of commercial operations if not the public?

They would be paying customers. They are not the same thing as the public.

It's often acceptable for people to pay for things that don't impact on other groups in the park.

For example, for an Ice Climbing Guide might take a group of paying customers to go ice climbing.​
(This 'acceptable' scenario assumes that everyone - including the members of the public who go ice climbing without a paid guide - has equitable access to the ice cliffs in the national park).​

Note that nobody in the public is excluded from paying for ice climbing guidance, but in this example, the ice climbing guidance is provided in a way that is exclusive, because not everyone who goes into the park receives this guidance - only the paying customers do.

It's often not acceptable for people to pay for things that negatively impact on other groups in the park.

For example, if the ice climbing instructor drives his group up to the ice cliffs on a road that is closed to the public, then all the members of the public experience the safety and amenity impacts of the paying customers.​

Note that the ice cliffs (and the park itself) are a finite public resource that a commercial operator could gain an economic benefit from.

In a democratic country (although I think the amount of democracy we experience is limited and weak at the moment), the public has a right to have their views heard about how public resources should be used.

It appears that a lot of people here have concerns that the commercial operations proposed in the SAP would have negative impacts on other people in the park.
 

Legs Akimbo

Grumblebum
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They would be paying customers. They are not the same thing as the public.

It's often acceptable for people to pay for things that don't impact on other groups in the park.

For example, for an Ice Climbing Guide might take a group of paying customers to go ice climbing.​
(This 'acceptable' scenario assumes that everyone - including the members of the public who go ice climbing without a paid guide - has equitable access to the ice cliffs in the national park).​

Note that nobody in the public is excluded from paying for ice climbing guidance, but in this example, the ice climbing guidance is provided in a way that is exclusive, because not everyone who goes into the park receives this guidance - only the paying customers do.

It's often not acceptable for people to pay for things that negatively impact on other groups in the park.

For example, if the ice climbing instructor drives his group up to the ice cliffs on a road that is closed to the public, then all the members of the public experience the safety and amenity impacts of the paying customers.​

Note that the ice cliffs (and the park itself) are a finite public resource that a commercial operator could gain an economic benefit from.

In a democratic country (although I think the amount of democracy we experience is limited and weak at the moment), the public has a right to have their views heard about how public resources should be used.

It appears that a lot of people here have concerns that the commercial operations proposed in the SAP would have negative impacts on other people in the park.
Curiouser and curiouser.

Here's a list of people who must be driven out of the park (you can start with Cochran). https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.a...tours&near=kosciuszko national park&extent=in
 

Majikthise

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I've made submissions both to the SAP and PoM both more or less saying no changes should be made to the KNP precinct without conducting an independent scientific review of the cumulative effects of the many exisiting ecological stresses in times of AGW. (Along the lines proposed in the open letter). With that review then informed decisions can be made. I've also asked for extension of public comments for both.
 

Has snow idea

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I found this interesting viewing.
While it has taken me a while to warm to his style, his approach to environmental issues is outstanding....
 
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