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New Southport facilities open for use.

06/08/2007

The new Lagoon Track and camping facilities in the Southport Lagoon Conservation Area will open this weekend, providing a sustainable experience for four wheel drive enthusiasts.

Minister for Tourism, Arts and the Environment, Paula Wriedt, said the construction of a new track, camping and day use area was an outcome of the Southport Lagoon Conservation Area Management Plan.

"As part of the management plan, the Leprena Track was closed with the intention of building a new track and facilities to provide access to Southport Lagoon," Ms Wriedt said.

"Construction began in November last year and the new facilities will open today."

The facilities located at the north-west edge of the lagoon include 10 campsites, two toilets, a day use area and dinghy launching site. Boat owners should be aware that boat trailers are not permitted, there are limits to the size of boats and motors for use on the lagoon and jet skis are not permitted.

The new track of nearly six kilometres is rated as a 'medium to hard' high clearance four wheel drive.

Specialist engineering and environmental science advice was sought before construction to ensure the track has a natural rock base foundation wherever possible and in some areas this has included the addition of hardwood cording to support sustainable access in wet areas.

Ms Wriedt said the new track will provide an experience that's challenging for those seeking a four-wheel drive experience, while also being sustainable into the future.

"The Lagoon Track requires a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle and it is not suitable for the cross-over, low clearance four-wheel drives," she said.
"The track is well marked to encourage people to stay on it and we will put into place a range of strategies including direct liaison with users, signage and enforcement, to ensure people understand that this area will be actively managed by Parks and Wildlife Service staff.

"We are also employing a Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) approach to the ongoing management of visitor use in this area, with a regular monitoring program to determine how we're travelling in protecting the natural habitats and cultural values.

"The Australian Government through NRM South, gave a significant financial contribution which enabled baseline studies and monitoring of the unknown natural values in the lagoon environs. This understanding will mean greater protection of the ecology and biodiversity of the conservation area."

For further information about the new facilities at Southport, contact the Huonville office of the Parks and Wildlife Service on 6264 8460 or visit the website www.parks.tas.gov.au for a fact sheet on Southport Lagoon.