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Public input into cave management sought


The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) is seeking public input into the management of the extensive cave and karst systems in southern Tasmania.

Parks and Wildlife Service general manager Peter Mooney said that the PWS is keen to hear from the public about cave management as it begins the process of preparing a management plan for caves and karst areas in southern Tasmania.

"Southern Tasmania is rich in caves and karst, with extensive karst areas and many caves," Mr Mooney said.

"Newdegate Cave at Hastings is southern Tasmania's only show cave and together with the thermal pool is an important regional attraction.

"Caves and karst are fragile places that require careful management if they are to remain in good condition for the future and the draft plan aims to address these issues by identifying the most suitable caves for different activities, such as tourism, recreational caving and scientific research.

"Providing opportunities for people to experience wild caves safely and with minimal impacts is a key challenge and we are hopeful that members of the public with an interest in caves will come forward with their ideas on this and any other issues associated with caves and karst sites."

The draft management plan that was prepared for the Hastings Caves State Reserve in 2005 will be expanded to encompass additional caves within the adjacent Southwest and Franklin-Gordon National Parks of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and also those in Mount Field National Park."

Contributions are invited and welcome and should be returned by Monday 30 June 2008. An Introduction Paper and Survey are available on the Parks and Wildlife Service website at www.parks.tas.gov.au or by phoning PWS offices at Huonville on 6264 8460 or Mt Field on 62881149.

Comments can also be sent to the PWS Southern Regional Planner at PO Box 126 Moonah TAS 7009.

Further community consultation will take place during August with a draft plan becoming available for formal public comment in late 2008.