This Sunday, 1 August is National Tree Day. Coming on the heels of this week's Eurobodalla Council selection of the successful tenderer for the detailed design, construction and maintenance of approximately 155km of mountain bike track through Mogo State forest the National Day raises the question of the dichotomy that sees Forestry intent on logging this last section of forest while Council is promoting #allkindsofnatural and how fabulous mountain biking is through our pristine forests. Alison Worthington, candidate in the Eurobodalla Council elections told The Beagle that she wants the community to give equal importance to the preservation of existing trees as well as planting new ones.
“I'd like to see the incoming council call for an immediate end to the logging of Mogo State Forest.” she said.
“Logging the very forest Eurobodalla Shire is promoting as a mountain bike destination is sabotaging a great local economic recovery project.”
“The forests around Mogo are still recovering from the horrific bushfires of 2019/20. Long term scientific studies done by internationally recognised experts like Professor David Lindenmayer, from the Australian National University's Fenner School of Environment and Society, have found that logging burnt forests will set back post bushfire recovery of these forests for hundreds of years.”
“Forestry NSW has already been logging across the Baby Bear trail,part of the Maulbrooks Mountain Bike hub in Mogo State Forest. The trail is churned up from heavy machinery, there’s cut down tree tops, stumps and bark strewn everywhere - it looks like a mining site not a tourist destination. The Kona mountain bike track in Compartment 146 behind Mogo Village is next on the chopping block. This mountain bike trail will be closed for months while the forest and the mountain bike trail is destroyed. It doesn't make sense to allocate $8 million of government funding and $750,000 of ratepayers co-funding to create a mountain bike destination then stand by as the area is devastated by logging.”
“We need to be more proactive here. We need to advocate at state level for a sustainable economic future for our shire. It's time Forestry NSW completed the transition from logging native forests to managing them as recreational, environmental and economic assets“ she said.
“The profitable sector of forestry is in plantations providing wood to the construction and fibre industry. Most logs from native forests are exported as woodchips, profiting a few companies at the expense of NSW taxpayers who are subsidising this.”
“The fact is there’s only 52 workers in the Eurobodalla Shire directly employed in native forest logging. To put that in perspective, there are 1102 workers in the food and accommodation sector and in 2019/20 there were over 2 million domestic visitor nights. It’s madness to log the asset that is attracting mountain bike riders from around the country.”
“There are so many creative and constructive ways that we could better use our state forests.”
“They would be ideal multi- use destinations for nature based recreation, increasing capacity for dog friendly campsites, horse riding and mountain bike riding. This will enhance the Shire’s offering as an eco-tourism destination. The strategy put forth in the National Parks Association’s Forests for All report is an excellent start.”
“Our current council has spent a lot of time and money promoting Eurobodalla Shire as “All Kinds of Natural” and “The Nature Coast”.
If council is serious about attracting the growing numbers of visitors seeking ecotourism experiences we need to follow through by protecting our natural assets.” said Ms Worthington.
“Planting a tree on National Tree Day is a great idea. An even better idea is to stop cutting down the trees we already have.”