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Innovative program matches environmentally conscious tourists with wilderness pr


Green Guardians, a new and innovative program delivered in partnership by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, Tourism Tasmania and commercial operators offers tourists to the state an opportunity to contribute while enjoying their guided tour in the wilderness.

Tour operators All4Adventures, Bay of Fires Walk, Cradle Mountain Huts, Maria Island Walk, TASafari, Tarkine Trails and Water by Nature have signed up to be part of the program this year.

Green Guardians provides sustainable experiences in Tasmania’s national parks and reserves for tourists on guided trips with the participating tour operators. Tourist will be able to make a real, positive difference to the protection and management of a particular park or reserve.

Park rangers have been involved in selecting projects that include wildlife surveys along the Franklin River, reporting, removing and monitoring coastal weeds at the Bay of Fires and Freycinet Peninsula, collecting and monitoring marine debris in the Tarkine region, monitoring sustainability indicators on the Overland Track, using GPS technology to pin-point informal track development within the day use area of Cradle Mountain and wildlife surveys on Maria Island.

Tour operators receive training in undertaking the identified work and are provided with materials required, such as bird identification sheets, rubbish bags and tags, site information and GPS recorders.

The program was officially launched at Launceston’s Paddy Pallin store on 11 April. It  was attended by participating tour operators and Parks representatives, along with Robert and Nancy Pallin and Stephen Gye, who had just returned from a Tarkine Trails tour where they participated in the program.

Robert and Nancy Pallin described being briefed by one of their guides, who introduced them to identifying and collecting the rubbish.

They were astounded at the amount and variety of rubbish they had collected.  ‘We took the rubbish back and sorted it, there was footwear, glass and plastic bottles, lids, jerry cans, drums, ropes of all sorts and sizes, it was incredible,” Mr Pallin said.

“We spent about two to three hours along the beach, and everyone in the group signed up”.

“We were lucky with the weather, it’s a wild coast. It is a spectacular landscape, with rocky canyons and white sandy beaches, we even saw four Tasmanian devils”.

Mr Pallin said he thought if people on their tour had been representative of what it will be like in the future, the program is a winner.

His views were echoed by Tarkine Trails tour operator Mark Davis, who recounted how tour participants often strapped rubbish and debris to their back packs, with all the risks associated with doing that.

“In this way the rubbish can be collected and there is a means of having it removed that doesn’t involve risk,” he said.

Stephen Gye from New South Wales, who volunteers for activities in national parks in his state said he could see the potential of the new program.

‘It just seemed logical, that you could do this while enjoying your visit. It was a fun thing to do as well as getting a good result, most people would be happy to do it” Mr Gye said.

Bay of Fires Walk and Cradle Mountain Huts tour operator, Heath Garratt said he was pleased at the enthusiasm of the tour guides towards the program and at the positive response of tour participants.

“After the guide presented the talk about Green Guardians to the group everyone signed up. They then spent time pulling out sea spurge along the beachside as they went on their walk. They also identified an area that will be targeted for removal by the next group that walks the area” Mr Garratt said.

The program, in its pilot stage at present, will be completed during the current shoulder season. Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service and Tourism Tasmania plan to hold a series of workshops in the north and south of the state designed to recruit more commercial tour operators to the program to develop new Green Guardian initiatives for the future.

Innovative program matches environmentally conscious tourists with wilderness pr

Nancy Pallin, Robert Pallin and Stephen Gye are presented with their complimentary parks pass and souvenir mug by project officer Jen Fry at the launch of the Green Guardians program.

Innovative program matches environmentally conscious tourists with wilderness pr

Tour operator, Bay of Fires Walk and Cradle Mountain Huts, Heath Garratt, is presented with the Green Guardians member logo by project officer Jen Fry.

Innovative program matches environmentally conscious tourists with wilderness pr

Nancy Pallin, Robert Pallin, guide Christoph, tour operator Tarkine Trails, Mark Davis and marketing manager Shar Molloy celebrated their participation in the Green Guardians program.

Innovative program matches environmentally conscious tourists with wilderness pr

Participating in Sea Spurge removal, an example of Green Guardians project activity. (Photo Jon Marsden-Smedley)

Innovative program matches environmentally conscious tourists with wilderness pr

Training workshop with tour operator Maria Island Walk.