The Wirrabara, Bundaleer, Yarcowie and Leighton forests in the state’s Mid North region are being managed by a range of private enterprises, including agriculture, horticulture, research, community recreation and sport, and commercial forestry interests.
These forests were opened for expanded use after bushfires destroyed over 2,000 hectares of publicly owned plantations in Wirrabara and Bundaleer in 2013 and 2014.
Aside from private commercial outcomes, over 3,500 hectares of land in Wirrabara forest has transferred to the Department of Environment and Water since the fires, including the Ippinitchie campground, King Tree Paddock, and the new Wirrabara Range and Spaniards Gully conservation parks.
A number of trails pass through these conservation lands, as well as lands managed by private enterprises across Bundaleer and Wirrabara, including the Heysen and Mawson trails. These trails explore dense native vegetation, open farming land and take in excellent views of the region. Up to date information on the Heysen and Mawson trail routes through the forests can be best followed through the relevant websites at The Heysen Trail and Mawson Trail.
More information on the new and expanded enterprises operating in Mid North Forests is included below, and can be seen in more detail on the land use map ().
These initiatives are a result of the Mid North Forests Future Strategy, undertaken in 2014-17 and developed in consultation with the local community. Proposals received for potential land use options were evaluated based on social, environmental and economic criteria which were informed by early community engagement around the future of the forests.
Livestock production has been expanded across Wirrabara forest in land no longer suitable for commercial forestry, particularly in its northern regions. Commercial forestry will continue in suitable areas under private management in the southern sections of Wirrabara. Horticulture in Wirrabara forest, including fruit orchards and a Spring Gully research trial on Manuka honey production, offer an expansion of industry already present in the region and potentially the creation of a new one. The Heysen and Mawson trails pass through the forest, including in conservation lands and through privately managed lands where both trails are protected by provisions under the Recreational Greenways Act 2000.
General agriculture including livestock production, firewood collection, and cropping, is continuing across Bundaleer forest. Commercial forestry in suitable areas not affected by the bushfires will continue under private management arrangements. The Bundaleer Sports and Recreation and adjacent picnic grounds and trails are managed by community associations that provide opportunities for the public to enjoy this historic forest. The Heysen and Mawson trails also traverse Bundaleer, including huts for overnight stays. More details on booking accommodation can be found at The Heysen Trail.
David Fudge will utilise this approximately 40 hectare forest reserve for agriculture, tourism and bio-char production, which is a carbon-rich charcoal that will be used in agricultural cropping systems.
Stephen Redden will use this forest reserve, of similar size to Yarcowie forest reserve, for agriculture and forestry by sustainably harvesting a small portion each year to enable regrowth and grazing sheep to reduce fire risk.
- Trial Manuka plantation site begins mid north - 16 August 2018
Rob Robinson - Director, Forestry