Bombshell secret docs reveal plans to close famous mountain
Secret government documents have revealed official plans to permanently close the iconic Mount Warning walking track in northern NSW before the end of next year.
The trail to the world-famous extinct volcano in the Tweed Valley, known to the indigenous community as Wollumbin, has been closed since last March because of COVID-19.
Thousands of people trek to the peak of the mountain each year to take in breathtaking sunrises over the valley to the ocean.
But public fears have been growing that Mt Warning could be declared off-limits to hikers forever, as has happened with Uluru in the Northern Territory.
Those fears have now been confirmed in Freedom of Information documents obtained from the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service by Right to Climb, a group whose credo is 'our mountains belong to all of us'.
The heavily-redacted documents reveal a 'Wollumbin Closure Strategy Implementation Plan' has been drawn up by bureaucrats, listing steps including a 'Final Wollumbin Closure Event' on November 22 next year.
The document includes proposed dates for a 'public education' campaign ended in October next year, as well as a media program.
Another official document is titled 'Wollumbin National park Closure - Communications and Engagement Plan'.
The document says an extended interim closure of the park 'would allow NPWS to consult with the Aboriginal community and key visitor economy stakeholders to deliver alternative experiences and plan a permanent closure due to ongoing safety risks and visitor impacts on Aboriginal cultural values'.
"Current generations of Aboriginal elders and community representatives see it as their responsibility to ensure sacred sites are protected and the traditional Lore and associated cultural protocols are upheld by all people," the document states.
"Desecration, littering and toileting, particularly around the Summit, is causing unacceptable physical and cultural impacts and damage."
Right to Climb's Marc Hendrickx, a qualified engineering geologist and veteran climber, said the 'bombshell' documents contained 'incredible revelations' which should alarm the public.
He said they showed that the NPWS had misled the public over safety risks and if it has its way, 'the park will never open to the public again'.
"Mt Warning/Wollumbin National Park is one of our Nation's true natural jewels and it is being treated as a political football by bureaucrats and Aboriginal groups,' he said.
Originally published as Bombshell secret docs reveal plans to close famous mountain