Damage to sensitive vegetation
caused by campfires
Photo by Peter Grant
Fuel Stove Only areas
The entire World Heritage Area and most national parks have been declared Fuel Stove Only Areas to protect natural values. Fires are totally banned in FSO areas. There are some places where campfires in existing fireplaces are permitted, usually at campsites that can be easily reached by car. Serious and well-equipped bushwalkers always carry fuel stoves, wherever they are walking.
A plant pathogen known as root rot (Phytophthora cinnamomi)
, has caused widespread destruction of vegetation, particularly in moorland, heath and dry
The disease is spread into new areas by moving infected soil or plant material into uninfected areas. It is too small to be seen and is easily carried on muddy boots, trowels, tent pegs, camera tripods, trekking poles etc. Parts of some walking tracks are already infected and the disease can spread quickly.
You can help by always starting your walk with clean gear. It is essential to wash your tent pegs and trowel where you use them (at the campsite before moving on) and, if directed by signs on the track, to scrub the mud from your boots, gaiters and legs.
Some tracks have special wash-down stations – follow the instructions at these places.
Other areas require you to walk the track in a particular direction, so the disease isn’t carried from an infected area into an unaffected region – check when you’re researching your walk and follow advice from the local Parks and Wildlife office.
Many birds use beaches as a breeding area. By walking in their territory you can disturb the birds and even accidentally tread on a nest. To avoid this, do not walk just above the high tide mark between September and March – walk on the hard sand below the tide mark. If birds act in a noisy or disturbed manner, leave the area as quickly as you can and appreciate these birds from afar.
Protecting heritage sites
All of the popular walking areas in Tasmania have been occupied by Aborigines for at least 30,000 years before the arrival of Europeans. The World Heritage Area was the southern-most known extent of human occupation during the last Ice Age.
Aboriginal artefacts you may come across include shelter sites in caves, coastal midden sites (piles or scatters of discarded shells) and rock engraving or painting sites.
You may also see relics of past European activities such as abandoned settlements or huts.
If you come across a heritage site, it is important to follow these practices:
• Leave it undisturbed.
• Do not under any circumstances remove anything – this is an offence and fines can be imposed. Doing so diminishes the value of the site (because it becomes less intact) and of the artefact (which may only have value because of its context).