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Overland Track management delivers


The Minister for Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts, Michelle O'Byrne, today released a report showing that improved management of the Overland Track was ensuring the popular walk remained sustainable into the future.

Ms O'Byrne said the Overland Track Sustainable Management Report 2008 found that the new management system was delivering on environmental sustainability, social quality - including walker satisfaction - and economic management of the track.

"The Overland Track is Australia's premier alpine walking track, with a national and international reputation.

"Last year, 5700 walkers enjoyed one of Tasmania's most stunning wilderness experiences, with more than 4600 of these making the 65km, six-day trek during the November to April booking season.

"Increased use of the track since 2000 indicated that without sustainable management, the very experience which attracted walkers from all over the world in the first place would be undermined."

Ms O'Byrne said after the State Government announced its vision for the long-term sustainability of the Overland Track in 2004, the Parks and Wildlife Service worked with the tourism industry, commercial operators, and the community to design a system that would improve the quality of the experience, ensure environmental values were maintained, walker numbers regulated and a sustainable funding source established.

"Key elements of the changed management system focused on the peak season, introducing a booking system, a fee to walk the track, a limit of 60 departures a day, and the requirement to walk the track in a southerly direction.

"A highlight of the report was the significant improvement in the social aspect of the walker experience, with the proportion of walkers surveyed being bothered by issues such as limited space in huts, or having to rush to the next hut, more than halving since the introduction of the booking system."

"Walker satisfaction is extremely high, with more than 90 per cent rating it as one of the best things they had done in the past 12 months, or indeed, they had ever done."

Ms O'Byrne said the report would now be used by the Parks and Wildlife Service to address sustainability threats through ongoing monitoring.

"It will also be used to help further develop of the Overland Track Recreation Zone management plan, and guide maintenance programs and user surveys.

"The State Government is committed to ensuring our State's wilderness experiences are sustainably managed so that they can be enjoyed by many more people into the future.

"This report highlights that improved management practices are making a positive difference to the long-term sustainability of the Overland Track," Ms O'Byrne said.

Overland Track management delivers

Last year about 5700 walkers enjoyed the Overland Track experience.

Overland Track management delivers

Overland Track fees are contributing to track improvements.