Dryandra Woodland – WA’s newest national park created!

The state government announced on 17 January 2022 the creation of the Dryandra Woodland National Park, the first such park in the wheatbelt region.

Dryandra is one of the state’s premier conservation areas and a very special place to visit in WA’s wheatbelt. It is an area of exquisite wandoo woodlands that has long been a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts and bushwalkers. It not only provides a haven for the woodland’s unique native species, including the endangered numbats, but also offers wonderful outdoor recreational opportunities, especially for bushwalking, within an easy 2.5 hr drive from Perth.

While celebrating the new national park, we should also remember the key historic achievement of pioneering conservationist, Vincent Serventy, in saving the forest when it was threatened by possible bauxite mining. His 1970 book “Dryandra -The story of an Australian forest” was read by Rupert Murdoch, the managing director of the company holding the mining lease at the time. Murdoch acknowledged that strip-mining would destroy this place of such great value and directed the company to relinquish its lease.

But not all of Dryandra is yet fully protected. The area was initially set aside in 1934 because of its value as an area for brown mallet, in demand at the time for tannin production, and brown mallet plantations still cover ~30% of Dryandra. HikeWest submitted in 2019 that the final management plan should expressly indicate an intent to eventually absorb all the state forest areas into the national park.

Without careful management, future forestry activities at Dryandra could devalue the national park and nature reserve, including recreational opportunities around the current Dryandra Village, such as the existing developed popular walk trails; Woylie, Kawana and Lol Gray Trails, which lie partly or wholly within the plantation areas. The brown mallet plantations will not be absorbed into the new national park under the current (2021) 10-year management plan but will remain as state forest, and may be subject to harvesting by FPC until at least year 2031, and potentially beyond, subject to ministerial approval. The plan notes the “good potential for future uses of brown mallet if a small saw-log industry could be based on the brown mallet timber resource at Dryandra”.

See:

(Posted 18 January 2022.)

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