A new management plan for the World Heritage-listed Hinchinbrook Island National Park near Cardwell will help support ecotourism in Far North Queensland.
National Parks Minister Steven Miles said the public consultation on the draft plan received 46 submissions, and the new plan was the first in nearly two decades for the paradise island.
“We want visitors to Far North Queensland to be able to experience Hinchinbrook Island and its 40,400 hectares of incredible mountainous, mangrove-fringed Park,” Mr Miles said.
“The final plan released today identifies the Park, and its iconic 32-kilometre Thorsborne Trail, as a premier coastal and island bushwalk drawcard for visitors.
“While there will be opportunities for low-impact visitor experiences such as commercial guided bushwalks; visitor numbers will continue to be capped to protect and manage the Park’s nature conservation values into the future.
“Other key priorities of the plan include working in partnership with Traditional Owners and conserving the island’s flora and fauna by managing pest animals and weeds.
“To determine the sustainable visitor experiences and activities that can be offered, the National Parks Department will also undertake an ecotourism feasibility study before inviting new applications for commercial activities.”
The new plan is the first to be produced by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) using a new, values-based planning framework based on international standards.
The National Parks Minister said the new plan would also ensure there was opportunity to capitalise on the growing ecotourism industry.
“Tourism and ecotourism is the lifeblood of this region,” Mr Miles said.
“Our tourism industry, and the jobs it supports, rely on places like our national parks with their world-class conservation values for their livelihood.
“The Palaszczuk Government is investing in these assets to ensure Queensland’s national parks are protected and well-managed into the future.”
The plan is available at http://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/