by Greig Clarke, President

We are a group of volunteers who maintain and improve the Penguin Cradle Trail in the North West of Tasmania. The Trail is a diverse walking track from the township of Penguin on the north coast to the iconic Cradle Mountain. We operate cooperatively with the Parks and Wildlife Service, Resource Management and Conservation Division of DPIPWE, private landholders and the Department of Environment as well as recreational groups such as the North West Walking Club.

Our article for the 2020 edition of Wildtimes reflected on projects in the pipeline as Covid 19 impacted us all in different ways, but WOW what a year we had in 2021.

We have a dedicated core group of volunteers, most of whom are retired, intermixed with younger and might I suggest, more energetic, members who enjoy the lifestyle and comradery while working on fun and worthwhile projects in the beautiful bush and mountain settings on the North West Coast.

The Penguin Cradle Trail (PCT) is like the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the work is continuous and takes around 2 years to get back to the same section of track to repeat the process. We were fortunate to have a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund (TCF) and together with existing funds from the Patricia Dukes Foundation, we were able to employ skilled workers to complete some track rehabilitation in the Leven Canyon. The grants were made available because we are a Wildcare Branch and the funds could be administered via Wildcare’s Tasmanian Nature Conservation Fund (TNCF).

We were also fortunate that the contractors enjoy going to out of the away locations and rock work is one of their specialities, as can be seen from images of the exceptional work done in the Leven Canyon. Previous floods had washed away sections of river bank along with parts of the original track. A detailed work plan was lodged with our local PWS Field Centre and after approvals were obtained the track rehabilitation began.

Work on track realignment into Gunns Plains was also completed and this was done entirely by volunteers. It took two and a half years to complete as initial route finding began in the summer of 2018 / 2019, approval requests were lodged with DPIPWE and Council Planning in March 2019, and approval granted in January 2020 – then Covid 19 struck and we weren’t permitted to work on DPIPWE controlled land.

September 2020 work started in earnest and after 478 volunteer labour hours and over ten working bees, the track was finally open to bushwalkers in May 2021. Once work began on the 1.5 km section to clear fallen vegetation, brush cut, hand bench the rough ground to form a track, install rock work and signage it became a very enjoyable project and the volunteers were contacting me to see when the next working bee was to take place … a great outcome!

As a result of the Gunns Plains track realignment and installation of numbered marker posts along the length of the PCT, Edition 2 of the information booklet and map set was needed and this is in the final stages before going to print for early 2022. Keep an eye out for it in the Wildcare Shop!