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Celebrating the achievements of landcarers

04/12/2017

The Tamar Island Wetland Cares Volunteer Group has been recognised in the 2017 Landcare Tasmania Awards.More

Horsetail Falls walk now open

15/11/2017

Visitors to the West Coast are in for some spectacular views on the new Horsetail Falls walk near Queenstown.More

Bruny Island Neck lookout re-opens

10/11/2017

The walkways and lookout at the Bruny Island Neck will re-open to the public today, following the completion of a new, larger car park that will provide improved access to the popular lookout.More

Social Values of the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area 2011

The full version of the Social Values of the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area 2011 can be downloaded as a PDF (1.8 Mb)

Executive Summary

The Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area (Arthur-Pieman) is a large area of 101, 936 hectares reserved under the Nature Conservation Act 2002 for conservation of its natural and cultural values and for sustainable recreational and economic uses. The reserve is managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service and is located in the south west of the Circular Head Municipality in north west Tasmania.

The reserve’s natural and cultural values include spectacular coastal landscapes, a rich abundance of significant Aboriginal sites, a high degree of biodiversity and sites of historic heritage. It is a largely remote area experiencing changeable and severe weather and difficulty of access from land and sea. While remaining predominantly Crown land since European settlement, it has experienced a range of uses by the local Circular Head community over the years, including cattle droving and agistment, mining, fishing, establishment of small shack nodes. It has become popular for vehicle based recreation, and is also used for recreational fishing, surfing, diving, horse riding and bushwalking by people form the local community and other visitors.  

This social values study was commissioned to assist the Parks and Wildlife Service to plan for future management of Arthur-Pieman by providing information about the meaning of the Arthur-Pieman area for the Circular Head community and their attachment to the area. Due to the way people relate to the Arthur Pieman and its pattern of local visitations, the study also included people from elsewhere in north west Tasmania who were long term users or otherwise attached to the area.  

The study applied a qualitative approach, which enabled meanings and attachment to the area to be explored in detail. A total of 115 people covering all age groups from teenagers to retired people and a range of community groups and interests were consulted, including in workshops, personal interviews and an Open House forum where people were able to drop in and provide their views. Study participants were also invited to comment on the draft report.  

The aim of the study was to record the values expressed by study participants in an objective fashion, without judging those values, entering into the sometimes polarised debate about reserve management and uses, or interpreting the values within an academic framework.  

The study found that the Arthur-Pieman has deep and multi-layered meanings for the local Circular Head community and other people in north west Tasmania who have associations with the area. For many people in the local Circular Head community, the Arthur-Pieman plays an important role in their sense of place and identity, which they express with passion and conviction. There is also a remarkable sharing of high level social values across the spectrum of interests and users in Circular Head and north-west Tasmania (despite some differing perceptions about the detailed expression of those values in use and management of the reserve). These high level values are: 

  • perception of the Arthur-Pieman as intrinsic to their lifestyle; 
  • appreciation of the area’s uniqueness, its special appeal and its wild, remote qualities;   
  • the area’s importance in bonding between family, friends and community; 
  • the area’s importance for young people, including learning life skills and passing on of traditions and/or values between generations; 
  • experience of relaxation and rejuvenation; 
  • experience of challenge and adventure; 
  • intangible or spiritual connections;  
  • the economic value of the area; 
  • a sense of stewardship for the area.  
In addition, there is a shared valuing of the reserve as a whole centred around its wild and remote qualities, whether seen by different people as a unique and diverse landscape, a setting for remote relaxation and adventure, a cultural landscape, a wilderness, or appreciated for its biodiversity or Aboriginal sites.  

There are differences in perception about what comprises responsible use and management of the Arthur-Pieman in terms of landscape management, off road vehicle use and mechanisms for protection of natural and cultural values. These differences stem partly from differing knowledge systems, but also from distrust of management changes among local people, many of whom are concerned at being ‘locked out’ of the Arthur-Pieman. 

Despite these differences, the degree of attachment and shared high level valuing of the Arthur-Pieman found during this study has the potential to promote future cooperation on reserve management through:   

  • developing an appreciation among the spectrum of interests and users that they have much in common in their attachment to the Arthur-Pieman;   
  • developing an understanding of differing viewpoints and breaking down a legacy of distrust;
  • mutual learning between different groups (eg. between those with practical experience and those with ecological knowledge) and use of local knowledge in management and interpretation;  
  • harnessing the sense of stewardship through providing a range of opportunities for local people and other users to be involved in reserve management.