The approval of plans to allow horse riders to use trails in parts of national parks in New South Wales has been condemned by a wilderness group.
The Colong Foundation for Wilderness claims horse riders cannot be trusted in wilderness areas.
This week, state Environment and Heritage Minister Robyn Parker announced the opening up of 32 kilometres of existing trails for horse riders through wilderness areas in the Deua, Monga, Kosciuszko and Mummel Gulf National Parks in a two-year trial.
However, foundation director Keith Muir said the minister had apparently done nothing to properly investigate its complaints over work carried out last year on the trails in the leadup to the approval.
“The management band aids proposed by NPWS won’t stop the chainsaws, axes, paint, erosion, pathogens and weeds that will follow horse riding in protected wilderness.
Muir was angered by work carried out last year on the Shoebridge Track and Gregory Pack Track, both in the Deua National Park, near Moruya.
“Fallen trees have been sawn in half and granite bolders sprayed with orange paint in the Burra-Oulla Wilderness. Barrawang palms have been hacked apart with machetes.”
Muir said the foundation brought the work to the attention of Parker and the NPWS last year. “Neither has responded appropriately to stop this vandalism.”
The NPWS stressed the work was carried out on existing trails.