by John Robertson
Two years ago there was a comprehensive burn of the 700 or so hectares between the Goat Track and Mundoolun Road running from Canungra to the power lines up the western escarpment. The objective this year is to burn the next section, i.e. from the power lines northwards to the old fire trail which runs from the shelf below the Showground to the top of Bambling Road. That ids an area of roughly 600 hectares. The State owns the trail land as a road reservation for an extension of Bambling Road straight up the mountainside to the Showground. The line of the track is shown dashed red on the Google map attached. It runs for about 3,000 metres and from 440 to 100 metres altitude.
Walking the trail suggests the road is unlikely to be built as the slope is up to 50%! The upper part of the trail is steep and narrow but towards the bottom it is less steep and widens out to truck width – at least it would if it were not covered in fallen trees and other vegetation. In days gone by this track was a principal route for local Aboriginal tribes making their seasonal visits to the Mountain. Wil told us that observant and knowledgeable hikers on the track often find Aboriginal artefacts along the way. With ‘heads down and bums up’ there was no such luck for our team on this occasion.
We got underway at 07:50 – ten minutes ahead of schedule. Our team was Wil, Don and Robbo; there were to have been five in total but two dropped out. Because vehicle access was impossible on the steep, narrow path everything we needed had to be carried – two chainsaws with fuel and all accessories, a rakehoe and food and drinking water. Wil did the work of two with his excellent chainsaw and he was backed up on the smaller timber by Don using a special handsaw which he had in his pack. Robbo had the rakehoe (and the camera). As the fallen trees were sawn up getting the logs cleared off the track was a major exercise. We all helped with this but Don did most of the heavy lifting.
One of the photos shows a large, fallen burnt tree being sawn up. Wil reckons that this was probably a relic of the very bad fires in 1984.The track had been neglected for a long time and was substantially overgrown throughout. (All the photos were taken along the centre line of the ‘track’.) It was made a lot worse by the storms at Christmas time this year which brought down countless trees across its lowest section. When we got to that section, every few metres across the track there was a tree – often a tangle of trees. Heavy going! All the team were about exhausted and at 15:00 we decided to call it a day and head down to Robbo’s car which had been parked in Bambling Road overnight. There are still some 500 metres of track to be cleared but they can be accessed from below with the support of a truck which will reduce the amount of carrying needed.
We spoke to three of the adjacent property owners and they were all very keen to see a hazard reduction burn in the area soon. Over the years they have become really anxious about the risk of a bad fire. Hopefully we will meet their wishes before the season is over. This was the first step.
More pics are available here.