NVCA supports the Great Koala National Park (GKNP) proposal and is represented on the local GKNP Steering Committee.
The GKNP has been proposed by the NSW National Parks Association (NPA), a non-government community conservation organisation. The GKNP proposal was released in 2015 by the NPA and proposes the addition of 175,000 ha of public native forests (State Forests) to the existing reserve system to create a 315,000 ha Great Koala National Park network. The GKNP will protect some 20% (about 4,500) of NSW’s remaining wild koalas across the Coffs Coast hinterland from Nymboida to Kempsey. The GKNP comprises of only public native forests, it does not include any private land or plantations.
On the NSW north coast koala populations have crashed by 50% over the past 20 years. Koalas generally prefer healthy mature forests on coastal floodplains and foothills, but unfortunately these are the same forests that have been most targeted for clearing, logging and urbanisation.
Koalas used to be abundant in our region, but now they are rare. Most of the remaining high quality koala habitat lies in state forests and on private land where ongoing clearing and industrialised logging is removing habitat at an ever increasing rate.
If this habitat loss continues, koala numbers will continue to decline towards extinction and could be extinct by 2050. Protecting identified koala habitat in State Forests instead of intensively logging it, is a vital step in saving our iconic koalas from dying out, so that future generations can visit healthy forests and see koalas in the wild.
NSW public native forests are being cut down faster than they can grow back and jobs in the native forest timber industry are disappearing along with our trees. The GKNP would provide many direct and indirect long term sustainable jobs in tourism, forest management and forest rehabilitation. With exciting walking, 4WD driving and mountain biking trails planned, tourism numbers will increase and benefit local communities with business opportunities relating to nature tourism, Gumbaynggirr cultural tourism, guided walks, education, accommodation, dining and transport.
For more information about the Great Koala National Park proposal visit https://koalapark.org.au/