After a 30 year campaign, two dramatic plateaus (Genowlan Mtn and Mt Airly) in the Capertee Valley have been reserved as the 3,600 hectare Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area. This scenic and biologically diverse area is a key part of the Gardens of Stone reserve proposal and was initially proposed for intensive coal mining that would have caused the ground to collapse 1.8 metres, but the mining intensity has been wound back.
“Environment groups congratulate the Keneally Government for resolving this conservation versus coal issue and are very pleased that Centennial Coal will now mine in a less intensive manner that will not cause ground subsidence damage in the new reserve. The area’s outstanding sandstone features – its hundreds of pagodas, deep gorges, slot canyons and tall sheer cliffs will now be protected for all time”, said Keith Muir Director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.
“The Government has already stated that Ben Bullen/Wolgan State Forests are next in line for reservation. Unfortunately a section of this forest area is now under major threat from a new open cut coal mine proposal that could turn an area equivalent in size to 2,176 football fields into a waste rock heap. This Coalpac mining proposal could become a destructive precedent in the Gardens of Stone reserve proposal area and must be stopped. It is the exact opposite of Centennial Coal’s modern low impact Airly coal mine,” said Mr Muir.
“We hope that the Coalition will advance the Gardens of Stone reserve proposal by supporting further reservation priorities in the Ben Bullen/Wolgan State Forests, as well as the Wollangambe River catchment and the other parts of the Gardens of Stone proposal,” Tara Cameron President of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society said.
“The new Mugii Murum-ban State Conservation Area has the ‘full kit’ of heritage features packed into a relatively small area, there is really nothing else quite like it. Notable features of the new reserve include the stone dwellings of New Hartley oil shale ruins near Airly Gap, the amazing rock formations like the ‘Citadel’ and the 20 metre Brown Barrel eucalypt trees downstream of the ‘Grotto'”, Ms Cameron said.
“The area contains more than 340 different plant species, including the Federally listed and endangered Genowlan Point Dwarf Sheoak Heathland which is unique to this reserve and the only living examples of the critically endangered Pultenaea sp. Genowlan Point”, said Ms Cameron.
“The area has the potential to contribute to the local economy provided appropriate visitor infrastructure is installed that protects the areas heritage values,” she said.
“The Colo Committee started working to conserve this area around 1980” said Dr Haydn Washington of the Colo Committee, “So it has taken decades to get to this point. This is a wonderland of biodiversity and geodiversity, so it is simply fantastic it has finally been gazetted!”
For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)
Tara Cameron 0419 824 974 (mob),
Haydn Washington, 0427367024 (mob )