7 December 2021
What a year it has been! With the unprecedented amount of wet weather this year, we are seeing more track maintenance issues than usual. Flooding, washouts, diversions, trees down - our maintenance volunteers have more than likely come across them.
In the past 3 months we received up to 150 report requests for track and campsite maintenance.
As a result, everyone from maintenance volunteers, support volunteers, the office team and Parks and Wildlife officers have made a concerted effort in keeping the Bibbulmun Track open and safe for hikers.
On top of the weather generating so much track work, and since Covid 19 has limited interstate and overseas travel, we are seeing more individuals, families, schools and groups using the Track. The Track has never been more popular!
This year our maintenance volunteers have worked exceptionally hard and its almost unbelievable to think (considering may of our volunteers are retirees) - what they have achieved.
Much of the work is done by hand, using hand secateurs and tree loppers, which can sometimes take days to clear extensive overgrowth of vegetation. However, with the emergence of lightweight battery powered tools, we are hoping to acquire more in future to reduce the burden of work and time it takes.
Apart from clearing, some of the key tasks our volunteers have undertaken in the past 3 months are:
- Restored the Mt Dale circuit (a delightful loop off the Bibbulmun Track) after it had been closed for several months. Day walkers can now enjoy some beautiful scenery along this route.
- Nurtured the 900 trees and shrubs planted to revegetate the Blackwood campsite area after bushfires, despite the bleak and rainy weather.
- Refurbished handrails on One Tree Bridge over the Donnelly River.
- Walked kilometres to inspect track marking and tree stability where fires have been through, including remarking 19.7 klms of track after a prescribed burn.
- At campsites, volunteers installed or replaced shelter and camp signage, refixed gutters, installed gutter guards, installed or cleared tank drainage. They also sanded and oiled benches, tables as well as oiled exposed timber.
- Along the track near Mutton Bird campsite, 11 volunteers in 4 days installed 260 new/reconfigured log water bars for erosion control, (with many logs having to be carried in by hand), stripped down and rebuilt 14 metres of boardwalk, installed 16 waymarking posts and 11 regulatory signs.
- Some recently walked the south coast part of the Track to inspect kilometres of sand erosion for planned restoration activities in 2022. This work also involved calculating the logistics, materials required and helicopter drop locations - a major exercise for next year.
Our long partnership with Parks and Wildlife officers has also meant that we are able to work closely with them in the management of the Track and utilise each other’s skills, expertise and resources to have a world class track for everyone to enjoy.