February 26th 2010
A new walking track proposed
Magnetic Island Ranger in Charge, Mr Patrick Centurino, is keen to hear feedback from the public on a new walking track the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service is proposing which would enable walkers to travel from Nelly Bay or Arcadia to the Forts carpark without needing to cross the Horseshoe Bay hill road which has been identified as potentially dangerous to pedestrians.
The proposed track would run from the present Nelly to Arcadia track on the Horseshoe Bay side down to connect with the track which follows the old Horseshoe Bay road from Curlew Flat to the Forts walk carpark.
Map of the proposed track
(acknowledging Sunmap for base image)
Because the proposed track is, in part, a response to a risk assessment associated with access points to some of the present tracks, funding will be raised through the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM).
To access the present track from Arcadia to Horseshoe Bay walkers have to risk following the steep section of road with no footpath from Alma Bay which narrows before one crosses to where the walking track (the old Horseshoe hill road) begins. Patrick himself claims he was nearly run over himself whilst inspecting the site recently.
Another section of track - which runs down from the Nelly to Arcadia track to meet Horseshoe Bay hill road about two thirds of the way up from Arcadia - also leaves walkers with nowhere to go but risk following the narrow road. This section is also proposed for closure.
The proposed new track, passes through fairly level terrain until dropping down to meet the Curlew Flat junction with of the old road track. A major feature of the new track will be that it passes through a grove of spectacular grass trees which are found around the hills in that area.
Some years ago a marijuana crop was planted in the area near the proposed track and it is thought to have caused the introduction of a weed, Cobblers Peg (Bidens cynapiifolia) which is now flourishing there.
Cobblers Peg comes in different forms
Weed management in natural bushland is a vitally important factor in decision making such as this and Patrick was keen to explain the success DERM staff have had along, formerly, very weedy sections of fire breaks where native vegetation is now rejuvenating after onging weeding as well as DERM staff and contractors managing machinery for weed spread by washing down and blow drying after use.
“Weeds used to travel from one location to another. Now machines must be washed and blown.” says Patrick.
“We aim to reduce weeds by hand pulling and spraying. The proposed track only has Cobblers Peg but we will be able to weed anything else that infiltrates the site. This should be an easy track to maintain and we are closing a track which is really onerous for maintenance - so that should free things up for maintaining other tracks in better condition.”
(left to right) Patrick Centurino with Charlie McColl, Lorna Hemstead
and Cr Trevor Roberts at Curlew Flat
Magnetic Island Councillor, Trevor Roberts, who inspected the new track area with Patrick Centurino, MICDA President, Lorna Hempstead and resident Charlie McColl, told Magnetic Times, “I think it's a great idea and much more attractive. It takes away two (road) foot crossings we consider dangerous. Once these guys bring the proposals to Council I will start pushing for them.”
Story and photos: George Hirst
To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below