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Tending the Tracks: Conservation Meets With Four-Wheel Driving

January 19, 2018

Likened (on radio) to “Prostitution getting together with chastity”, the public’s perception of the relationship between four-wheel drive groups and conservationists is polar to say the least. Last weekend was the ignition of a collaboration between what are initially seen as disparate groups.

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LEFT: Group 1 take the Guilderton-Seabird Track with Dr Elizabeth Rippey aboard to present on 'Coastal Flora'
RIGHT: Hamish Longbottom (NACC) and Group 2 ready to head out to Edward's Island Point, Lancelin

After Dr Nic Dunlop (Citizen Science Coordinator, CCWA) heard Graham Weber, (Treasurer, Trackcare WA) speak at the State NRM conference, he realised that the position held by the two groups was not so disparate. They achieved a bit of a coup by bringing so many members of the groups together in the Tending the Tracks initiative.

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LEFT: Dr Mic Payne (NACC) HIll River presentation to Group 4 'Riparian Vegetation and Coastal Camping"
RIGHT: Wedge Island presentation 'Beach nesting birds, migratory shorebirds and archaeological sites' with Dr Nic Dunlop

Tending the Tracks brings together the Conservation Council of WA, supported by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC), Trackcare WA, the WA 4 Wheel Drive Association (peak body representing 31 clubs), other metro clubs, and local Coast Care groups.

The January field trip/forum/workshop was implemented to ‘strike an accord’ between the groups and demonstrate the conservation focus of many of the 4WD groups in WA.

On Saturday, small groups visited selected hotspots along the coast between Guilderton and Sandy Cape with expert speakers and local guides on site. An overnight camp-out followed and on Sunday the forum/workshop at the Jurien Bay SRC focused on the core aim to develop community–based management of the coastal off-road environment.

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LEFT: Our Drone Men - Lancelin
RIGHT: Evening campsite - Jurien Bay

Bruce Brinkley (Chairman, WA 4WD Association) summed it up in few words: “If we don’t look after it we won’t be allowed in it!”

There is no doubt that an immediate outcome of the weekend was the enthusiastic response from the four-wheel drive community to become actively involved in managing the impacts of a favourite pastime.

Reflecting after the event, Dr Mic Payne (Coordinator, NACC Coastal and Marine Project) remarked:

“Conservationists and four-wheel drivers make strange bedfellows (although without the bed sharing as far as I know). It was refreshing to be surrounded by four-wheel drive enthusiasts who are champing at the bit to assist with on-ground management. The vibe was great!”


IMAGE: At Work - Sunday Forum

A SUCCESS! All parties can see the value in combining forces to build a community targeting sustainable environmental management.

Tending the Tracks is funded through the Federal Government’s National Landcare Program.

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