New recreation strategy for State forests on public display

‘Living, working, playing … forests’, a draft strategy for sustainable recreation, sport and tourism in State forests across New South Wales is on public display until 2 July 2004.

State Forests of NSW sustainability analyst, Hilary Smith, said the organisation was seeking community feedback on the draft policy that has been developed over the past 12 months in collaboration with peak stakeholder groups.

“During 2003, we worked with 200 people representing a range of groups that use State forests, as well as relevant government departments, to discuss issues and develop joint solutions, ” Ms Smith said. “The result is this draft policy we’ve called ‘Living, working, playing … forests’.

“Now we are seeking some broader community feedback.”

Ms Smith said the policy’s objectives and actions reflect the major issues raised by stakeholder groups, including maintaining access to forests for recreation, sport and tourism, as well as encouraging the safe and responsible use of forests.

“Encouraging community understanding of the social, environmental and economic benefits of recreation, sport and tourism in State forests is also a key component of the policy,” Ms Smith said.

She said that stakeholders had also suggested improvements to the administration and management of State forests for recreation, sport and tourism.

“The range of activities pursued in State forests is extraordinarily broad. There’s the more obvious – camping, four-wheel driving and horse riding for example - through to more specialised pursuits such as sled dog racing, carriage driving and rogaining. We have developed a draft policy that appreciates the varied needs of user groups.

“We hope that people will take the time to review the draft document and send us their feedback to ensure it is as relevant as possible to the hundreds of thousands of people that use State forests for recreation, sport and tourism each year,” Ms Smith said.

Copies of ‘Living, working, playing … forests’ can be obtained from State Forests’ by telephoning State Forests’ information centre on 1300 655 687 or (02) 9871 3377 or from local offices of State Forests.

The public consultation period ends on 2 July, with the policy to be finalised and launched later this year.

Media contact: Hilary Smith on (02) 4472 6211.