By Rauleigh Webb
Cape Range Marina
The situation with this marina is unchanged over the last 12 months. No action has been taken regarding its construction and hence no action has been required by the Federation.
Cape Range Limestone Quarry
The possibility of this quarry being approved is very high. Hence all available information relating to the importance of the caves and karst features of the cape is being gathered.
If any mining companies consider that the development is economically viable then the Federation should have considerable information on which to base significant opposition to the project.
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
The permit system has operated for 2 years in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Over the last 12 months the Cave Management Advisory Committee (CMAC) has been involved in an extensive review of the system. The outcome of that review is "Version 2" of the system which was implemented in November 1994.
The significant alterations were:-
Abseiling was identified as the main activity undertaken in caves and karst features in the park. This activity was separated from the caving activities and sites were classified accordingly. Abseiling activities were also identified as causing the highest level of damage due to pure weight of numbers. (All abseiling sites had visitor numbers 100% higher than the nearest caving visitation rates see Webb, The Western Caver 1993)
Increases from $1 to $2 in charges/head for all permits was implemented. Furthermore Abseiling sites were increased from $1 to $3 per head.
Most caves maintained the party size that was employed from the commencement of the system. However, where it was considered that the reduction in numbers as a result of the permit system, had not led to a reduction in the rate of damage to the cave weekly trip limits were imposed in an attempt to reduce the impact of high visitation rates.
The names of cave classifications were altered to attempt to convey to the user groups the sensitivity of the caves they were visiting.
Adventure Caves are now called High Conservation Self Guiding Caves
Restricted Access Caves are now Extreme Conservation Restricted Access Caves
Self Guided Caves class I (previously free of charge) now have a fee of $2/head per person and this fee is to be collected using ticket machines placed at the cave entrance.
Several caves can now only be booked for entire days as opposed to AM or PM bookings as it was considered the caving experience was significantly affected by trying to "fit" a trip into 1/2 a day.
NO CAVES HAVE BEEN "CLOSED" AS A RESULT OF THE PERMIT SYSTEM.
A sub-committee has been formed to propose a mechanism for assessing the leadership capabilities of the current 400+ people registered as "leaders" within the permit system.
Lake Cave - Proposed Interpretive Centre
A lengthy submission was made to the Augusta Margaret River Tourist Bureau regarding the proposal to build a Cave Interpretive Centre on the edge (4 metres from the edge) of the Lake Cave Doline.
Considerable input was made regarding the site for the centre as well as the proposed exhibits.
Nullarbor World Heritage Listing
The change of government has placed the proposed listing in limbo. No new developments have occurred since the WA liberal government was elected.
South Coast Management Plan
As at December 1994 none of the proposed National Parks or reserves in the Nullarbor region have been declared. The required legislation is STILL LOST (I stated the same thing last year!) in government mumbo jumbo!
No on site management is proposed for the parks and reserves in the Nullarbor region.
The Nullarbor region is coming under considerable pressure from cavers and cave divers from all over Australia and the world. The implementation of sensible on-site management are desperately required if the fragile cave systems of the Nullarbor are to survive in the condition they are today.
Yanchep National Park
No further meetings of the Yanchep National Park Cave Management Advisory Committee were held during 1994. Crystal Cave tours are now conducted by a private operator. CALM is still classified as the cave manager but the tour operations are leased to the private operator.
WASG policy on the use of caves in this area by large groups (10 persons or more) for educational purposes was formulated. The WASG proposed that maximum group sizes should be six given the small nature of the caves.
Nambung National Park
The draft plan is still being written a planned public release date has not been issued. A meeting was held with the planning committee and a general overview of caving activities in the park was formulated. These ideas were to be incorporated into the draft plan at which time a final submission will be made to clarify any unclear points.
Mt Lesueur National Park and Coomallo Nature Reserve
The draft plan was released and submissions closed on the 9th October 1994. A submission was made on behalf of the Federation proposing that an adjoining (by one common boundary) National Park (Drovers Cave) be included in the plan. Given the known caves and karst features in the northern corner of the Mt Lesueur National Park it was proposed to consider examining the park for further caves and to classify and inventory all of the features.
The full text of the submission is available on request.