An aerial view of Girrimay NP showing its proximity to the resort development site.
Vitally important mahogany glider habitat has been preserved in FNQ thanks to the declaration of a new National Park on land that almost became an airport and a golf course in a much-opposed resort development.
Wildlife Queensland congratulates The Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook and the Queensland Government for their respective achievements in campaigning for and gazetting Girrimay National Park.
Part of Girrimay National Park lies along the coast between the Hinchinbrook Passage mangroves and the site of Keith Williams’ rejected Port Hinchinbrook Stage II.
The land contains habitat for the mahogany glider, one of Australia’s most endangered mammals. These rare animals are only known to live in narrow stretch of coastal rainforest 110km long between Tully and Ingham in Far North Queensland.
Renowned for their treetop ‘dance’ mahogany gliders have lost 80% of their habitat to agriculture, forestry and development. Just 20% of their remaining habitat is protected.
‘We welcome the gazettal of Girrimay National Park,’ said Christine Pfitzner, Wildlife Queensland’s community projects coordinator. ‘This is a valuable addition to the amount of protected mahogany glider habitat,’ she added.
The mahogany glider is the current focus of the Queensland Glider Network’s (QGN) program. The QGN is currently raising awareness statewide of the challenges facing the glider’s continued survival and encouraging local communities to enhance glider habitat.
"We thank a succession of Queensland Environment Ministers – Rod Welford, Dean Wells, Desley Boyle, and Lindy Nelson-Carr – for keeping the promise made ten years ago to protect this coastal wetland as national park," said Margaret Moorhouse, representative of the Alliance to Save Hinchinbrook (ASH).
"ASH now calls on the Queensland government to prevent forest death in Girrimay National Park. From the Bruce Highway south of Cardwell the upper limbs of the dead trees can be seen above the surrounding vegetation of the national park. Entire dead areas are obvious from the air," she added.
In 1997 the developer Keith Williams first tried to gain control over Unallocated State Land (USL) Lot 33, now part of the new Girrimay National Park. There was talk of plans for airport and golf course.
In 1999 the Hon Rod Welford, then Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, rejected the developer’s lease application. He promised that USL Lot 33 would be protected as national park.
However, there is a legacy of problems with the land caused by the adjacent resort development. A containment pond four metres above ground level holds acid soils from the development site. It stretches along 1 kilometre of the boundary between the site and the present Girrimay National Park.
The spoil pond contains acid sulphate soils excavated from the development site, and acid dredge spoil. ASH is concerned that the acid contents of this pond have found their way into the Girrimay National Park land where it has killed trees and other vegetation.
For more information about the poultry shed grant scheme and other activities, contact Wildlife Queensland by email or call +61 7 3221 0194.