Light to Light Great Walk plan for Beowa (Ben Boyd) National Park

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have proposed a plan to use tax payers’ money to expand commercial developments within Beowa National Park that would restrict public access to one of the most isolated, pristine, and rugged wilderness areas of Australia.

The aim, the NSW government says, is to make the walk a “great walk of Australia”. It’s a badge given to walks like the “exclusive” Tasmanian Overland Track, the “luxurious” Bay of Fires Lodge Walk, and Queensland’s Spicers Scenic Rim Trail “glamping” experience.

“The upgraded Light to Light Walk will be a fully immersive four-day experience that combines walking and eco-accommodation in one of the most remote and dramatic settings in Australia,” the government website reads.

DPIE and NSW NPWS plan to erect two luxury “eco lodges” in the Beowa National Park, at Hegarty’s Bay and Mowarry Point. These remote camping and renowned fishing locations are unspoiled, sensitive and ecologically significant areas.

This proposal seeks to allow privately-run companies to operate the existing Light-to-Light overnight hike, erecting semi-permanent hard-roofed accommodation, and banning existing pack and walk-in camping at these sites. The existing Light-to-Light hike is in danger of being restricted to a ‘luxury camping experience’ at a cost of up to $500/night, and the DPIE and NPWS will undertake extensive, potentially damaging changes to these locally-cherished places.

We believe that there is a large conflict of interest in how the plan has been proposed and who and where the benefits of the plan will go. It seems unlikely that the main benefit will remain with the community and current users of the area.

Minimal public or local consultation has taken place despite these plans being in the works for over ten years . there are also concerns that there will be no appropriate upgrades to the camping grounds at saltwater creek and bittangabee bay either. This is our only chance to have our say on what happens to our beautiful wilderness and demand to stop the changes being proposed.