An expression of interest form embedded in a post from Wildwalks.com‘s Facebook page indicates that the National Parks Association of New South Wales (NPA NSW) is planning an inaugural Bushwalking Conference that could come to fruition by the end of this year.
Matt McClelland, activities coordinator for NPA NSW and owner-operator of Wildwalks, a bushwalking community website for those interested in experiences in NSW, shared the news with Wild today.
“I think this is a great opportunity for people at all levels of Australian bushwalking to find common ground, and perhaps to even find ways to progress the activity where possible,” he said.
“There are plenty of challenges that people face when they head out into our parks and wilderness spaces – some of them have existed for decades and some of them are relatively new.”
McClelland cites access to information such as camping and water sites, as well as accurate, relevant signage as ongoing challenges that outdoor users face. On the other hand, access to detailed, bushwalking-specific maps may be an example of a problem that’s in fact become exacerbated in recent times as a result of digital disruption in cartography.
Then, land managers and parks authorities themselves have a raft of issues to deal with regarding access provisions, track maintenance and visitor education.
Kevin Evans, chief executive for the NPA NSW said he’s excited about the prospect of having a physical forum for discussion in the local bushwalking fraternity.
“This forum will allow the entire community to share their ideas, discuss innovations and potentially even suggest ways we can solve the impediments that currently stop this activity from progressing in New South Wales and beyond,” Evans said.
“While the majority of attendees will be bushwalkers primarily, we also hope to see many land managers and other staff from organisations such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), crown lands and wherever else bushwalkers are likely to frequent.”
The two-day conference is likely to be held in late 2015 and Evans has invited anyone in the outdoor industry who would like to consider sponsorship opportunities to contact him directly.