Flinders Ranges National Park hiking trails closed over summer

News article |

Four challenging hiking trails and one campsite in the Flinders Ranges National Park will be closed over the summer months in the interests of public safety.

Posted 10 November 2015.

However, visitors are reassured that there is plenty to do with 15 other walking trails that remain open as well as scenic drives, scenic flights, lookouts and cultural heritage sites.

The closures – to St Mary Peak inside trail; St Mary Peak outside trail; Cooinda Campsite; Malloga Falls Hike; Mount Ohlssen-Bagge Hike - will take effect from 1 December 2015 to 29 February 2016.

The decision was made by the Flinders Ranges National Park Co-management Board after several serious incidents in previous years involving walkers who were ill-prepared, had insufficient water and low fitness levels to undertake these challenging hikes during the high temperatures.

“We know that these are popular hiking tracks and the decision was not reached easily,” said Stuart Paul, Regional Manager, Natural Resources SA Arid Lands.

“We have a duty of care to visitors and priority needs to be given to public safety in a region which is remote from many essential services. Summer temperatures here are frequently in the high 30s and can reach low 40s, which makes walking these along arduous hikes risky to the unprepared or unseasoned, including emergency services personnel who get called out to search and rescues”.

“The closure of these trails will reduce the risk to walkers and potentially to emergency services personnel who undertake search and rescues over summer when temperatures are at their hottest.”

Visitors to the park are being informed through a variety of communication channels with every effort being taken to notify people before they arrive and to provide them with information on alternative walking trails and activities and safety advice.

“Even on some of our less challenging tracks, summer temperatures and conditions can make bushwalking dangerous and walkers should always be prepared when bushwalking.”

“We hope to reach people before they arrive but we will also have information at the Wilpena Visitor Information Centre and Wilpena Resort.”

Visitation to the Flinders Ranges National Park is at its lowest during summer months and it is estimated that less than one per cent of the Park’s 170,000 annual visitors will be affected by the closure of these hiking trials.

The Flinders Ranges National is managed by a Co-management Board in a partnership arrangement where the Adnyamathanha people and Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources/Natural Resources SA Arid Lands share responsibility and decision making for the strategic management of the Park.

Further information can be obtained from Natural Resources SA Arid Lands in Port Augusta on (08) 8648 5300.

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