The Mid North region will receive an economic boost with the establishment of a diverse range of new enterprises.
The new businesses come following a State Government process to determine the future use of the Mid North Forests.
The enterprises include:
- Creating a firewood and tourist business at Yarcowie Forest
- Establishing a grazing and firewood business at Leighton Forest
- Transforming the former Wirrabara Forest School into a self-catering tourist accommodation business.
- Transferring Bundaleer recreation grounds to the Bundaleer Sports and Recreation Association for $1.
The Bangor bushfire burnt 1,776 hectares of commercial plantations at Wirrabara in January 2014.
This fire followed the February 2013 Bundaleer fire, where 427 hectares of commercial plantations were lost. From January to March 2016, the State Government conducted the Mid North Forests Request for Proposal and 38 binding proposals were received.
The transformation of the former Wirrabara Forest School into a self-catering tourist accommodation business includes plans to re-vegetate the site with local species to replace fire damaged fauna.
Until all arrangements are finalised, ForestrySA will continue the management of the Mid North Forest estate, including maintaining its fire management effort throughout the fire season.
For further information on the Mid North Forests Future strategy visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/forestry/mid_north_forests_future_strategy
Quotes attributable to Forests Minister Leon Bignell
These initial new enterprises will be exciting additions to the Mid North region, and will create and maintain jobs.
Commercial-in-confidence negotiations are continuing for a range of proposals, including the continuation of commercial forestry under new ownership.
High conservation value areas of native vegetation and key recreational sites at Wirrabara forest are also being transferred to the state's reserve system.
This is an extremely complex process and it is imperative that appropriate time is given so we can achieve the best possible outcomes for the Mid North Forest community.
We expect the negotiations will be concluded later in 2017.
Quotes attributable to David Fudge, proponent of Yarcowie Biochar
I am pleased to have the opportunity to further develop the Yarcowie Forest, I grew up in the 1960s and 70s at Whyte Yarcowie and know the forest well.
The intention of our new firewood and tourist venture in Yarcowie Forest is to harvest limbs of existing trees and convert them into biochar, which is a carbon-rich charcoal that will be used in agricultural cropping systems.
We plan to build a tourist eco villa using some selected wood harvested from the forest, produce lump barbecue charcoal, and saw mill selected hardwood for furniture making.
Quotes attributable to Stephen Redden, proponent of the grazing and firewood business at Leighton Forest
We plan to sustainably manage Leighton Forest by sustainably harvesting a small portion each year to enable regrowth.
Many of the trees are 100-years-old and will make high value firewood. We'll also graze the land to reduce the fuel load.