There is a fight looming over some closed Tasmanian 4WD tracks, with two sides unable to come to an agreement over what kind of access 4WDers should have to a certain stretch of coastline. Some say there should be controlled 4WD access, and others say there shouldn’t be any at all.
The battleground is in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area, a huge area of wild, rugged country in Tasmania’s north-west. It’s name comes from the Arthur and Pieman Rivers, which both spring from the Central Highlands of Tasmania, and run down into the raging southern stretches of the Indian Ocean.
Tasmania’s West Coast is a great spot for 4WDing, touring and camping, with tonnes of history, not much development and lots of bush. But, like so many other spots around Australia, it has had it’s access limited in the name of conservation.
Currently, Tasmania’s state government wants to re-open parts of the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area back up to 4WDers, with more strict management and limitations than previously fostered. The area under question runs along the coastline, between Sandy Cape and the mouth of the Pieman River.
The area has been closed off from vehicle access since 2012. In an article published by the ABC, reporter Natalie Whiting takes a 50-minute boat ride and hour-long walk to access some more remote parts of the area, which were previously accessible by 4WD.
Tasmania’s Aboriginal history is what’s being threatened by 4WD access, and the reason why they have been limited access. There area middens, hut depressions and burial sites throughout the area, which are a direct link to Tasmania’s long pre-colonial history. Three years ago, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Council (TAC) halted plans to re-open the area by taking their cause to the Federal Court.
4WD Tasmania fighting for controlled, managed 4WD Acess.
Some aboriginal and environmental groups see the only way to preserve the area from damage is completely banning 4WD access altogether, something which 4WD Tasmania disputes.
Instead, they are looking to re-instate access to the area with a proper management plan to preserve the heritage of the area. This is echoed by the Tasmaniam Government, with the Tasmanian Environment and Heritage Minister saying ” I think there is a community interest in allowing sensible and balanced recreational access to these areas. But we need to do it in a way which is genuinely protecting natural and cultural values.”
What can you do to help?
If you think there should be a controlled, managed 4X4 access to this part of Tasmania, get in touch with the local politicians and let them know your thoughts.
As a 4WDer, it’s really important we all put our best foot forward. Don’t go where you’re not allowed, don’t tear up the tracks, and leave places with zero rubbish left behind. If you want to go and be a high-revving hero with more wheel spin than Gary Myers, publicly accessible land is not the place to do it!
The fact of the matter is that there is a small section of the 4X4 community out there that is ruining it for everyone. If you see someone out there doing the wrong thing, dob them in.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.