What is a park management plan?

    Park management plans are the main strategic documents used to manage protected areas in South Australia. They set the strategic direction, contain information on park values and threats, and outline the objectives and strategies for how parks will be managed.

    The parks covered in this plan will be managed to achieve the objectives of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (Act). These objectives ensure that the parks are managed primarily for conservation, while supporting public use, enjoyment and education about the parks’ purpose and significance.

    Why has a new draft management plan been developed covering 15 parks?

    The Hindmarsh Valley National Park was proclaimed in December 2021. In accordance with the Act, the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water is responsible for preparing a management after the constitution of a reserve.

    Apart from Stipiturus Conservation Park, the other parks in this plan are yet to have an adopted management plan. The parks in this plan have similar ecological and geographic features and are subject to the same range of issues. The planning process provided an opportunity to develop one management plan to support a consistent approach to biodiversity conservation and public visitation in parks across the central Fleurieu Peninsula.

    How does the park management plan guide the management of the parks?

    Park management plans are strategic documents that provide a high-level overview of how parks will be managed. Under the Act, a park must be managed in accordance with the provisions in the relevant park management plan. The draft plan identifies 3 themes, each with objectives and strategies that outline management priorities. The specific actions required to deliver the strategies are planned at the park operations level in accordance with resources available.

    What are the key priorities for management of these parks?

    The parks included in the plan have been proclaimed primarily for the protection of high conservation values. Key priorities focus on maintaining and enhancing ecosystem health and protecting threatened species by focusing on the management of threats including total grazing pressure, inappropriate fire regimes, phytophthora, weeds, pest animals and the impacts of climate change. 

    Current infrastructure and opportunities for people to experience and appreciate nature through low-impact activities will be maintained. New walking trails may be considered in the future to expand bushwalking opportunities, or to redirect people for ecological reasons. Existing visitor facilities will be maintained and new basic facilities may be developed in the future if the level of demand warrants the investment. Maintaining and building relationships with volunteers, researchers and adjacent landholders will support their continued involvement in park management opportunities and help to achieve effective outcomes.

    What’s planned for Hindmarsh Valley National Park?

    The draft plan provides for the development of basic off-road car parking to allow walkers to access existing management tracks in the park. Visitation will be monitored and will guide any need for further facilities to support visitation. If the level of visitation indicates a need for further facilities, basic day visitor areas, including facilities such as shelters and toilets, may be considered. Any development of new park infrastructure will be guided by the adopted management plan and a detailed planning process.

    Is mountain biking permitted in Hindmarsh Valley National Park?

    When the new park was announced in 2021, provision for mountain biking in the park was considered. Following further investigations across the park, the full extent of the diversity of habitats and native plant species became evident. 

    The vegetation associations and endemic plant species found in the park are poorly represented in South Australia’s protected area network and are of extremely high conservation significance. They have been disproportionately cleared from the surrounding landscape and are susceptible to threats associated with trail development and use. For this reason, biodiversity conservation programs with an emphasis on managing threats will be the primary focus for the long-term management of the park and developing trails for mountain biking as an activity in Hindmarsh Valley National Park is not envisioned in the plan.

    When will the management plan be finalised?

    At the conclusion of the 3-month consultation period, feedback received will be collated and analysed and used in developing the final plan. 

    Community feedback and the final plan will be submitted to the Parks and Wilderness Council for advice before being submitted to the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water for adoption towards the end of 2023.

    How can I have a say on the draft plan?

    National Parks and Protected Area Program Unit
    Department for Environment and Water
    GPO Box 1047
    ADELAIDE SA 5001