11 May 2020 - Rod Campbell
Following extensive work by Forestry Corporation of NSW and contractors over the last few months, Bago and Maragle State Forests are now reopened for essential forest use. This excludes activities still prohibited due to COVID19 restrictions such as camping, picnicking, fossicking and hunting.
Repair work has been carried out continuously in Tumut softwoods and Tumbarumba hardwoods through the ‘Make Safe’ program since the Dunns Road and Green Valley fires in December and January.
Extensive damage occurred to not only trees and wildlife, but also road infrastructure and general forest access. A number of roads have now been cleared of debris, major infrastructure repair projects have begun and timber salvage operations are in full swing.
However with these reopenings, all forest users should exercise caution when returning to these forests, said Forestry Corporation’s Acting Sales and Production Manager Billie-Jo Brown.
“While a lot of work has gone into repairing the main access areas, visitors should also be aware of burnt out bridges, culvert damage, road slips, dangerous trees and other hazards; particularly on side tracks, minor roads and walking tracks,” Ms Brown said.
“Burnt trees may fall without warning and vehicles must keep to formed roads.
“Due to current COVID 19 restrictions, forest users should ensure that any travel in and through forests is deemed essential and must following any warning or site specific closure or detour signage.
“Forest users should be also aware though that some roads are still closed due to increased forest risks with the intensive timber operations to harvest and haul burnt plantation timber, including Kopsens Road and Bago Forest Way.
“Particular caution should be given to the increased level of forest traffic, including large machines and log trucks, and all signage and direction by Forestry Corporation staff should be adhered to.”
Domestic firewood collection is now available in a few select areas of the hardwood estate within Bago State Forest via purchase of a permit online at www.forestrycorporation.com.au.
Firewood permits are also available in most other local forests not affected by the summer bushfires.
To avoid using closed forest roads, access to the Bago State Forest collection areas is best via Bullongra Road and Yellowin Road (for forest users travelling from Batlow) or Dog Tree Road or Elliott Way (for forest users travelling from Tumbarumba).
Access to Paddys Dam, Blowering Dam and Talbingo will remain closed for the immediate future, while works to repair damaged roads are completed.
Access to Green Hills State Forest, Woomargama State Forest and the Seymours Plantation area of Mannus State Forest remain closed at this stage.
For further enquiries please contact the Tumut office on 6947 3911 or Tumbarumba office on 1300 880 538.
Media contact: Rod Campbell