Major Program Of Improvement To KNP Walking Tracks

January 14, 2000 Tumut & Adelong Times

A major program of improvements to the popular summit area walking tracks in Kosciuszko National Park began this week.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) summit ranger Cameron Leary said that while some maintenance works were undertaken before the Christmas period, work on reconstruction of the track from Rawson's Pass to the summit of ME Kosciuszko began this week.

"Before Christmas we undertook repairs to the raised metal walkway in preparation for the busy holiday period," said Mr Leary. "The metal walkway from the top of the Crackenback chair lift at Thredbo to Rawson's Pass has been a great success in protecting the environment while also offering a very comfortable walking surface. However, it does require maintenance as a result of the heavy snow loads each winter.

"We're now keen to get started on the track from Rawson's Pass to the summit of Mt.. Kosciuszko now that the peak holiday period is over."

This summer's work is the fourth season of a major improvement program for the summit area walking tracks. The improvement program is aimed at protecting the fragile environment of the alpine area while also providing better facilities for the visitors.

"Considering the short working season in the alpine area, we've made substantial progress in reconstruction and rehabilitation of the track from Rawson's Pass to the top of Mt. Kosciuszko," said Mr Leary.

"Improvements to the top of Mt. Kosciuszko include natural rock paving, a new interpretative sign and revegetation of eroded areas.

"There is now a sense of arrival for visitors to Australia's highest mountain and that's important for a significant site that receives as many as 30,000 visitors each year.

This summer's work will see the reconstruction of the final 150 metres of the track between the summit and Rawson's Pass. Reconstruction has involved improvements to drainage, narrowing of the track and resurfacing with geoweb and crushed granite.

"The geoweb plastic webbing combined with crushed granite has proved a great success in stabilising the track in high traffic areas," said Mr Leary.

The summit crew also expects to begin work on reconstruction of the Main Range track, starting from near Rawson's Pass and heading north towards Mueller's Pass, a distance of one kilometre.

Several hundred metres of the track was reconstructed two seasons ago. The track has areas of severe erosion, with multiple tracks up to 10 metres wide and up to one metre deep.

Restoration will include improvements to drainage, revegetation of eroded areas, narrowing of the rack to 1.5 metres wide and resurfacing with crushed granite and geoweb.