Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered questions

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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Hughmac » Sun 23 Aug, 2020 6:34 pm

Thanks for the link Michael. As a Highlands local that map is full of fascinating info.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Hoojar » Mon 19 Oct, 2020 3:27 pm

tom_brennan wrote:
Our map didn't cover that area, but on inspection at home, it turned out to be the conveyor belt from the Valley 3 Mine.



The access road into the Valley was an interesting one, Sheehys Creek Road has a 'cross-over', so that trucks drove on the right-hand side of the road, thus fully laden trucks were on the inside of the road, and the empty trucks drove on the outside. The warning signs were still there circa 2001. During that same time period the nearby 'flying fox' marked on the topo map was still in operation. There is a log book at Nattai Bluff with very few names in it.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby puredingo » Sun 06 Dec, 2020 8:33 am

Well, just got back from a couple of days in the Nattai and...what a shame.

Basically, save the switchback, the old road is absolutely choked with weeds. Hidden valley completely unrecognisable along with the old farm roads linking the flats together.

Walking back from Baloon pass I totally gave up on the banks and took to walking in the river until round flat where I climbed the wall to pick up the road. I’m not sure this will ever return to it’s recent former self, it’s pretty far gone. Allum flat being the biggest tragedy for me, this was blue ribbon camping once, now no more.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Grabeach » Sun 06 Dec, 2020 5:35 pm

A interesting and amusing article on the mining road
http://users.tpg.com.au/users/eirvine/w ... /story.htm
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby michael_p » Sun 06 Dec, 2020 9:55 pm

^ That story has always been a good read.
One foot in front of the other.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby sandym » Mon 07 Dec, 2020 3:50 pm

Just wondering what you mean in terms of "it's pretty far gone."

I am thinking you are talking about invasive weeds? If so, I agree, they were getting bad in the Nattai many months ago when we went down so I cannot imagine what they are like now.

Of note, we did a two day bushwalk recently in the Deua NP and the invasive weeds were head high and virtually impenetrable. It took us almost two hours to travel one kilometre.

Same around Currowan forest where the fires went through.

Really steep terrain is completely open with virtually no undergrowth to stabilise the soil while flat areas or areas along creeks - but extending multiple kilometres to each side - are overrun with invasives.



puredingo wrote:Well, just got back from a couple of days in the Nattai and...what a shame.

Basically, save the switchback, the old road is absolutely choked with weeds. Hidden valley completely unrecognisable along with the old farm roads linking the flats together.

Walking back from Baloon pass I totally gave up on the banks and took to walking in the river until round flat where I climbed the wall to pick up the road. I’m not sure this will ever return to it’s recent former self, it’s pretty far gone. Allum flat being the biggest tragedy for me, this was blue ribbon camping once, now no more.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby johnw » Mon 07 Dec, 2020 5:53 pm

It's worth reporting your observations and concerns about the weed situation to NPWS. They are likely already aware of it but unfortunately generally have very limited funding to address these things.
But If enough people let them know they see it as a priority it may get bumped up the list. I've been active in remote bushcare for a long time, although not in Nattai. It takes time but you might be surprised at the results that can be achieved. if there is already a program in that region or the local rangers/staff are supportive of the idea, and you have some spare time, consider volunteering.
Given the scale described it's likely that broader treatment by contractors may be needed as well.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby FatCanyoner » Mon 07 Dec, 2020 8:53 pm

Re "invasive weeds", make sure you actually know the identity before pulling plants out. There are many natives that respond well to fire and disturbance. Particularly species like solanums can look weedy, with their fast growth and spikey leaves. Many of them are in fact natives, doing what they are meant to be doing. I've seen many people complain about weeds in recently burnt areas when in fact that plants were simply native species that quickly colonise following disturbance.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby johnw » Mon 07 Dec, 2020 9:24 pm

FatCanyoner wrote:Re "invasive weeds", make sure you actually know the identity before pulling plants out. There are many natives that respond well to fire and disturbance. Particularly species like solanums can look weedy, with their fast growth and spikey leaves. Many of them are in fact natives, doing what they are meant to be doing. I've seen many people complain about weeds in recently burnt areas when in fact that plants were simply native species that quickly colonise following disturbance.

Good point Tim. A basic rule - if in doubt leave it alone or get someone more knowledgeable to ID it.
There are some good resources around to help identify weeds but plenty of natives can be mistaken for them as well.
This publication is for the Blue Mountains but many of these weed species also occur more generally:
https://weedsbluemountains.org.au/identify-weeds/
Some other useful links:
https://weeds.org.au/
https://sydneyweeds.org.au/impacts-of-weeds/weed-identification/
http://www.nswweedsoc.org.au/useful_links/#7
There is also an app but I haven't tried it:
https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds/nsw-weedwise-app
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby puredingo » Tue 08 Dec, 2020 7:02 am

This is gone way beyond the remedy of pulling plants out. To pull plants out here would be a lifetime occupation and I’ll be the first to admit I definitely don’t know enough about the flora of the area to do such a thing.

But if people want this track (once Rd) at least walkable again, native or not, clearing needs to take place on a major scale.

I personally won’t be going back for a long time, if I’ve ever got to work that hard again and fight for every meter gained it’ll be to see somewhere new!! Nothing worse than battling away when you know just how far you have to go, somehow it’s more bearable not knowing?
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby tom_brennan » Mon 14 Dec, 2020 11:16 am

FatCanyoner wrote:Re "invasive weeds", make sure you actually know the identity before pulling plants out. There are many natives that respond well to fire and disturbance. Particularly species like solanums can look weedy, with their fast growth and spikey leaves. Many of them are in fact natives, doing what they are meant to be doing. I've seen many people complain about weeds in recently burnt areas when in fact that plants were simply native species that quickly colonise following disturbance.


I'd second this.

We walked back down Little Capertee Creek to Newnes yesterday, and it was much more "weedy" than 2 months earlier. But when I started looking at the "weeds", the vast majority were natives. Various species of solanum, native storksbill (pelargonium), sigesbeckia (there is debate about this being native, but NSW Herbarium says it is), native violets. There were a few thistles and a couple of other weeds, but for the most part it was native colonisers.

From a bushwalking perspective, it's still hard work, but at least you feel a bit better about it!
Bushwalking NSW - http://bushwalkingnsw.com
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Hughmac » Wed 30 Dec, 2020 12:05 pm

Saddened, but not surprised, to hear the condition of the Nattai valley. It was effectively my backyard for many years, and I have a lot of fond memories of trips down there, including with my now deceased father. Was down there myself recently, and the weeds were insane - and yes, they are primarily weeds, not natives. The valley has been affected far worse by these fires than the '01 fires. I can only assume that a combination of the 2016 floods, which obliterated much of the riverside vegetation, followed by three years of drought, then the fires, has left the environment badly exposed to this infestation. I wouldn't hold out any hope for NPWS addressing it, even if they had the resources. They have basically abandoned the road below the old logging ramp since the rockfall on the switchback, and I'm pretty sure both NPs and Water NSW are happy to see people kept out of it.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Neo » Wed 30 Dec, 2020 7:10 pm

I fancy one of these for those times when the ground is too hard, could also double as the tiger-hole digger.

Now a third use, could work as a lightweight thistle etc chipper :)

https://www.msrgear.com/ie/tents/tent-a ... 03074.html

Has been out of stock globally.
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Re: Another day in the Nattai. Solving some unanswered quest

Postby Ndevr » Wed 30 Dec, 2020 9:49 pm

Yesterday my Dad and I did a 30k full day hike in the Nattai in misty conditions from Wattle Ridge:

> Ahearns lookout - track in quite good condition, still reasonably sparse vegetation, slower regrowth

> Slotts Way - track in quite reasonable condition, some fallen trees, plenty of massive cabbage-like weeds, track easily navigable until about 150m from river, then just find own route to river

> Russells Needle - 'trail' in ok condition, some vegetation on lower NE slope (easier going on adjoining ridge 50m to the south); is that crackline in the summit pillar rock growing? I only spent 30 seconds on there!

> Nattai River - the most dramatic change, especially between Slotts and Mcarthurs - where previously you could walk the whole eastern bank, it's now slower going, quite thick scrub/weeds/regrowth on the banks; crossed and walked in the river many times

> McCarthurs Flat - the main campsite, whilst still ok, is becoming overgrown - the SW sandflat looks the ideal campspot (unless heavy rains upstream)

> Starlights - track take-off point becoming overgrown, track is ok but rhythm is slowed due to numerous fallen trees/branches across it, though none are major obstacles

Overall it's a great long day hike (or overnight camp) with heaps of variety and challenge...and quite remote, we saw no one the whole day, in the peak week of the year.

The rapid regrowth is astounding, especially the infestations along the river banks. It would be very slow/hard going with higher river levels.

There's higher priority issues and areas in the state, but if left another 12 months without maintenance, the weeds and fallen trees could win the battle or require extensive repair later, or perhaps let it become an off-track wilderness much like the Colo/Wollemi?

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