Stringy Bark Ridge
Stringybark Ridge, where’s that? It’s in our backyard as the picture below shows; you can see Boundary Road, and Yarrara Road angling across the bottom right of the picture.
The bare patch, right in the middle of this southern section of the Berowra Valley and 400 metres in from the entry point on Schofields Parade, is an area of considerable interest and some heated debate right now.
As a visitor to the area today you might observe that the access way lacks maintenance, the long abandoned government buildings remain in situ and the cleared ‘pony club’ area shows no sign of natural regrowth or of being revegetated. And, you might reasonably conclude that something needs to be done in the area.
National Parks legislation describes their primary purpose to be the conservation of nature and cultural heritage, while providing opportunities for visitor use in a manner that does not damage conservation values. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is responsible for establishing a Plan of Management (POM) for all national parks.
A draft plan for the Berowra Valley National Plan is currently on exhibition and includes the identification of Stringybark Ridge ‘as a potential area for one or more of the following activities and the provision of facilities for these purposes: –
recreational, sporting, educational and cultural nature
a designated camping area for users of the Great North Walk, and
community group activities’
and refers to Hornsby Council’s interest to establish a full-on sportsground facility.
As written up in the May/June 2015 issue of the Monthly Chronicle
What does ‘Hornsby – the Bushland Shire’ mean to you? Is it just a ho-hum goodness feeling about a shire that includes large areas of natural bush land, including the Muogamarra, Marramarra and Ku-ring-gai Chase National Parks, not forgetting the Berowra Valley National Park that runs north / south through the heart of the Shire? Or is there a greater connection?
National Parks are governed by the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1974 under which the primary purpose of national parks is to conserve nature and cultural heritage, while providing opportunities for appropriate visitor use in a manner that does not damage conservation values. The Act requires a Plan of Management (PoM) outlining how each park will be managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The draft PoM for the Berowra Valley National Park, currently on exhibition, includes the following action plan – to prepare a precinct plan to guide recreational use of modified natural areas at Stringybark Ridge, an action resulting from Hornsby Council advocating for sporting facilities at Stringybark Ridge including change rooms and amenities buildings, a kiosk, flood lighting, parking and access improvements.
Stringybark Ridge, at the southern extreme of the Berowra Valley National Park, is right in our backyard with access via the Schofield Trail at the end of Schofield Parade, Pennant Hills. The trail leads to two open grassed area, described in the PoM as modified natural areas, strangely not naturally revegetated in spite of non-use for many years.
While one might understand sports groups pressuring elected representatives with respect to this site, it should be recognised that Council’s proposal includes a number of firsts for this National Park, first for organised team sports, first for food outlet, first for flood lighting, first for evening activities and it is a real stretch from the purpose of the park. It is not hard to see that if this alternative was approved a serious precedent would be established.
There is a passive recreation alternative. The PoM describes the established Crossland Reserve and Barnetts Lookout precincts, as day use areas including picnic tables, playgrounds, walking tracks etc. Both these precincts are located at the northern end of the park and well north of the Hornsby CBD, but there is no equivalent facility in the southern part of the park. The so-called modified natural areas would seem highly suited to duplicating the northern examples and with Council’s increased density housing precincts in Thornleigh, Pennant Hills, Beecroft, Carlingford and Epping there is a demonstrable community need.
If you sympathise with the passive recreation alternative you should make a simple submission to –
firstname.lastname@example.org – saying you “do not support the BVNP PoM proposal on pages 18 +19 to provide for activities of a sporting nature in Stringybark Ridge as they do not fit with the purpose of the Act”. Every submission counts.
Note – the above was from the Trust column in the May/June 2015 issue of the Monthly Chronicle