Environmental campaigners in NSW are celebrating after the state government announced plans to extend conservation areas to cover the unique rock formation and ecosystems Gardens of Stone NP.
The proposed new Gardens of Stone Reserves in the Upper Blue Mountains near Lithgow will protect over 30,000 hectares of ancient sandstone pagodas and rich eucalypt forests, important cultural heritage, and an array of threatened species and ecological communities.
In addition to conserving this important landscape in the national park estate, the new reserves will also benefit from one of the largest visitor infrastructure packages ever delivered for a new national park.
Visitors will be able to enjoy a spectacular new attraction, the Lost City Adventure Experience, as well as an iconic new multi-day walk from Wollemi to Gardens of Stone, new and upgraded lookouts, camping areas, walking tracks, mountain bike trails, and more.
What are the conservation and cultural heritage values of the new reserves?
The new reserves are of exceptional conservation value and a longstanding priority for addition to the national park estate. The proposed new reserves are characterised by striking geological features such as the scenically spectacular ‘pagoda country’. The reserves include:
- The Newnes Plateau – the highest elevation sandstone plateau in the Blue Mountains, containing species such as the Wolgan snow gum (Eucalpytus gregsoniana), which is not found in the existing Blue Mountains reserves
- Internationally significant geoheritage characterised by spectacular sandstone pagodas, cliffs, steep gullies, slot canyons and grassy woodlands
- At least 16 threatened ecological communities, including elevated swamps listed under both Federal and State legislation as well as box woodland and tableland grassy forest
- Over 80 rare and threatened species, including koalas, spotted-tailed quolls, regent honeyeaters, and Blue Mountains water skinks
- Exceptional cultural heritage with many recorded sites including artefacts, art engravings and pigmentations, carved and scarred trees, stone arrangements and grinding grooves
- The Mayinygu Marragu (Blackfellows Hand) Aboriginal Place – a place of special meaning to Wiradjuri people and highly valued by the wider Aboriginal community, which contains Aboriginal rock shelters with painted art and is a teaching and occupation site.
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