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Visitor safety under the spotlight in new walker safety video


Visitor safety in Tasmania’s national parks and reserves has received a major investment with a suite of projects, including a new feature video on bushwalking preparation and safety.

The video is now featured on the Parks and Wildlife Service’s (PWS) YouTube channel (also available with Mandarin subtitles), Facebook page and website.

PWS wants visitors to really appreciate how quickly weather conditions can change and there is no better way than contrasting the difference between blue skies one minute and a blizzard the next. The new safety video produced using real park rangers at Cradle Mountain aims to educate visitors, from all backgrounds, to better understand what they are getting in to and how to be prepared.

This is just one of many new safety initiatives launched by PWS in recent months.

In response to one death and several near misses on the Overland Track in recent years, PWS has ramped up its approach to informing visitors of the risks, but in a friendly and engaging way. While it’s not possible to eliminate all risk for visitors travelling in sometimes extreme environments, it is important that PWS utilises all possible contemporary approaches to risk mitigation. 

Given the continuing increase in visitation by non-English speaking travellers, providing information in visual formats and in other languages is a high priority.

Mandarin-speaking Discovery Rangers interact with visitors at Cradle Mountain, Mount Field and Freycinet during the peak summer holidays to highlight safety measures for the experiences visitors intend to undertake.

On the Overland Track web page, walk safely information is presented alongside buttons providing the information in Mandarin, traditional Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese.

At the Overland Track visitor reception desk, walker safety banners present safety messages in a pictorial format that highlights the potentially difficult weather conditions and the need for thorough preparation and adequate gear.

PWS staff have detailed conversations with walkers who appear ill-prepared to undertake the Overland Track journey. In particular, staff will suggest walkers delay their departure if the forecast indicates extreme conditions, and refunds are issued to walkers who decide not to proceed based on this advice.

Social media promotions highlighting key safety messages that illustrate how the Overland Track can be ‘beautiful one day, deadly the next’ with the passage of a strong cold front have been developed and are posted at key visitation times.

Finally, an emergency shelter has been installed at the Cradle Cirque – an exposed section of track on the Cradle Plateau where walkers have gotten into difficulty during poor weather conditions.