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Bluff Knoll walking trail reopens after extensive repairs to bushfire damage

Bluff Knoll walking trail reopens after extensive repairs to bushfire damage
May 22, 2020

Bluff Knoll, the Stirling Range's highest peak, is among Western Australia's most popular trails and has reopened following its closure to extensive damage in the December and January bushfires.

Bluff Knoll offers 360 degree views from the summit and is now safe for visitors. People will be able to climb the Bluff Knoll walk trail 8am today (22nd May 2020) following four months of work to repair extensive bushfire damage.

Albany MLA Peter Watson advises "It has been a difficult time for tourism businesses in this region who provide accommodation, food and recreational opportunities for tourists who visit Stirling Range National Park.

"I am pleased that people can now walk Bluff Knoll, and I encourage them to strongly support the surrounding operators as well as businesses in the broader region."

More than a third of Stirling Range National Park was impacted by a bushfire that started from multiple lightning strikes between Boxing Day 2019 and the New Year 2020.

Since then, contractors and staff from WA Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) have spent four months working to repair the extensive damage to the Bluff Knoll trail.

More than 50 tonnes of material were brought in manually and by helicopter, with only hand tools used to replace all steps and water bars on the trail and install a new 5.5 metre pedestrian bridge about halfway along the trail.

The height of the new steps has been decreased to make the trail easier to climb and more family friendly.

The Bluff Knoll trail repairs were funded by a grant from the Federal Government's Australian Heritage Grants, and by DBCA.

Mt Trio and Mt Toolbrunup walk trails and access roads in the park will open 8am tomorrow (23rd May 2020). Stirling Range Ridge Walk including Ellen Peak will remain closed for the rest of the year, and Toll Peak picnic area and Moingup Springs campground and picnic area remain closed for the foreseeable future. These areas were severely impacted by fire.

Western Australia Environment Minister Stephen Dawson notes "The Stirling Range National Park is the beating heart of the Great Southern region, and the opening of Bluff Knoll has been eagerly anticipated by tourists and locals alike.

"I thank the Parks and Wildlife Service work crews and contractors who worked long and hard to get this trail safe for visitors, and I look forward to invigorated interest in experiencing this trail now that it is more accessible.

"Parks and Wildlife Service is continuing to assess the damage to flora and fauna in the park, as it is home to many rare and endemic plant species." 

Image courtesy of DBCA. Credit: Shem Bisluk

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