Arakwal plan comment sought

Residents are being invited to comment on the draft plan of management for Arakwal National Park on public exhibition until February 28.

The draft plan outlines the management of the park's diversity of plants and animals, pests, rehabilitating degraded areas, fire, bushtucker, visitor use and access, walking tracks, cultural tourism and research.

It also reflects the great significance of the park - traditionally referred to as 'country' - to the local Byron Bay Arakwal people.

It includes information on the importance of ountry, looking after country, using country and knowing about country.

Arakwal elders Lorna Kelly, Dulcie Nicholls and Linda Vidler said they wanted to see "country how it used to be."

They said they wanted to share parts of their culture with the wider community so they could learn about and respect ountry like they did.

The Park has many values that have been identified as important by the Byron Bay Arakwal people and the wider community through a process of community consultation, including:

l Joint management of the Park recognises the rights and responsibilities of the Byron Bay Arakwal people as traditional owners of the landscape that includes the Park and allows their connection to country to continue.

l The park protects country from development and allows the traditional owners to continue to live in harmony with the environment.

l The park protects significant coastal habitat including a large area of 'honeysuckle country' (banksia heathland) that is home to many native plants and animals including the endangered Byron Bay dwarf graminoid clay heath and threatened species such as wallum froglet and wallum sedge frog.

l The park provides visitor opportunities such as coastal walking, nature study and appreciation.

l The Park provides environmental and cultural education opportunities relating to coastal processes, coastal heathland and forest, freshwater wetlands, post-sand mining rehabilitation, and the management of pests, fire, threatened species and communities in a way that incorporates cultural considerations.

The draft plan of management is available free by contacting the Byron Bay NPWS office on 66858565 or on the website

A community information meeting on the draft plan will be held at the Byron Bay Community Centre on Wednesday February 2, at 5.30pm.

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