Horse riding in NSW national parks becomes a reality

NEW plans to help horse riders experience more NSW national parks have been unveiled.

NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker released the Strategic Directions for Horse Riding in National Parks paper, saying the strategy would guide decisions about how to provide better and sustainable horse riding in parks.

"The strategy identifies eight priority regions of NSW as the focus for new horse riding opportunities," Ms Parker said.

"These are the Far South Coast, Southern Ranges, Blue Mountains, Metropolitan North East, Central Coast Hunter Ranges, Lower North Coast the Northern Tablelands and Northern Rivers.

"The strategy will help guide how we can provide more opportunities for horse riders, particularly in the identified priority regions."

Ms Parker said encouraging sustainable horse riding was another step in fulfilling the Government's election commitment to provide more opportunities for more people to experience our national parks - while safeguarding the environment.

"It is about balancing recreational opportunities so people can better understand and appreciate our wonderful national parks and reserves and at the same time ensuring the unique values of our parks remain protected," Ms Parker said.

Ms Parker said the strategy also provided for carefully monitored and limited horse riding pilot programs in five wilderness locations:

• Kosciuszko National Park (Southern Ranges Region)
• Curracabundi National Park (Lower North Coast Region)
• Monga National Park (Far South Coast Region),
• Deua and Wadbilliga National Parks (Far South Coast Region), and
• Mummel Gulf National Park (Northern Tablelands Region).

"Risks to park values will be managed through careful planning and best practice adaptive management but access to areas of high environmental sensitivity, such as critical habitats, wetlands, swamps and alpine areas will be avoided," Ms Parker said.

The pilots will run for two years but before commencement, the plans of management for the five national parks will need to be amended.

Ms Parker said the NPWS had allocated $150,000 to help deliver new horse riding opportunities between now and June 2013.

The Strategic Directions for Horse Riding in NSW National Parks can be downloaded here.

Topics:  equestrian horse riding

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