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Fire advice for the February long weekend


Campers and bushwalkers are urged to be very careful with any campfires and to observe additional fire restrictions that may apply in parks and reserves as we head into a long weekend at the peak of the fire season.More

Maria Island ferry operator sought


The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) is calling for expressions of interest for a single passenger ferry operator for Maria Island National Park.More

DVDs celebrate the Arthur-Pieman


A suite of three DVDs produced by the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) promotes the sustainable use of the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area, its rich Aboriginal heritage and the passion of the people who live and work there.More

Summary of the 1999 Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan

Note: This plan is currently under review. For details see TWWHA Management Plan Review.

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Management Plan 1999 is available as PDFs for download in two forms:

An alteration to the plan was made in 2002, and is to be read in conjunction with the above:


This management plan has been prepared under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970. It provides the policy framework and management prescriptions to guide management of the WHA for the next 10 years.

This is the second management plan for the WHA; the first was produced in 1992. Although much of the general thrust of the 1992 plan has been retained, this plan also:

  • covers new issues that have arisen since 1992;
  • incorporates greater community involvement in WHA management;
  • more closely integrates recreation and tourism interests;
  • provides greater linkage to the World Heritage Convention and
  • adds a system of monitoring and evaluation for assessing achievement of the plan's objectives.

This summary highlights new approaches (marked [new]) and major management prescriptions. These are arranged under the relevant chapter headings below.


At 1.38 million hectares, the Tasmanian Wilderness WHA covers approximately 20% of Tasmania. It includes Tasmania's four largest National Parks, a range of other reserves and some of the best wilderness areas in south eastern Australia. The area was inscribed on the world heritage list in 1982 and expanded in 1989 in recognition of its outstanding world heritage value.

Joint Commonwealth–State Government arrangements are in place to oversee management of the WHA. These include agreed funding arrangements tied to the implementation of management plans. Full implementation of this plan is contingent upon these funding arrangements. The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service is primarily responsible for management of the area.

The process of reviewing the 1992 management plan has been extensive. Public comment has been sought over a two and a half year period with a large amount of feedback received.


Features of outstanding significance include extensively glaciated landscapes; undisturbed habitats of plants and animals that are rare, endangered and/or endemic that represent a rich variety of evolutionary processes; magnificent natural scenery and an impressive assembly of Aboriginal sites that include cave art.

The WHA is also highly valued for recreation and tourism based on its natural and scenic qualities.


[New] The objectives of the 1992 plan have been remodelled and are now aligned more closely to the primary obligations of the World Heritage Convention. For each of the 10 overarching objectives, a brief outline is given of the concepts underlying the objective, and a number of 'key desired outcomes' are identified. These are major outcomes or end-points towards which the management prescriptions in the plan are directed. An overview of the major prescriptions to achieve these key desired outcomes is presented, along with the main measures that will be used to evaluate the extent of success of management in meeting the plan's objectives.



[New] 10 year plan life. The management plan is proposed to have a life of 10 years, with a limited review at the five year point.

[New] Key Focus Areas. Ten key focus areas are identified. These will be high priority areas to be implemented during the first five years of the plan. They are marked [KFA] where they occur under the relevant headings in this summary.

[New] Resolving conflicts. A process for resolving conflicts is included to resolve the situation where actions taken to achieve one objective may interfere with the achievement of another.

[New] Evaluation. An evaluation system (including reports on progress every 2.5 years) is included which is designed to track the implementation of the plan and measure achievement of the key desired outcomes. [KFA]

Zoning. Much of the 1992 zoning has been retained with the shrinkage of some recreation zones that were unnecessarily wide in some parts of the WHA. The zoning is based around tourism and recreational use of the WHA, retention of wilderness areas and protection of the area's World Heritage and other natural and cultural values.

[New] Greater community engagement. The plan acknowledges the need for community support and involvement in the management of the WHA, particularly for local communities. It sets up a framework for the active involvement of interested communities, groups and volunteers in the management of the WHA. [KFA]

[New] New Proposals Process. Because the plan has a 10 year life, a process is required to take account of new things that arise that were not considered when the plan was drafted. The New Proposals and Impact Assessment process does this. The process uses different assessment processes depending on the nature of the proposal, its potential impact on values and the degree of public interest in the proposal.



[New] Increased emphasis on identifying and protecting the world heritage and other natural and cultural values of the WHA. A review of the values of the WHA will take account of new discoveries and clarify the status of presently recognised values. It may result in updating or re-nomination of the area for World Heritage listing. [KFA]

Current work will continue on threats to the values of the area such as the high altitude dieback on the Central Plateau, river bank erosion on the Gordon River, and threatened species such as the Lake Pedder galaxiid, orange bellied parrot and King’s lomatia. There will be an increased emphasis on research dealing with threatened values. [KFA]

Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Much of modern land management deals with understanding and mapping the values of the land and how they interrelate. A powerful tool for handling this is a GIS. The Service will upgrade and standardise current GIS software and hardware to provide a powerful, accessible and easy-to-use system. [KFA]

[New] Proposed marine reserve. At the time of writing, a new marine reserve is being progressed to better protect the unique organisms found in the Bathurst Channel area. (This area is presently part of Southwest National Park; this tenure protects the land but not aquatic animals).

[New] Feeding wildlife. Because of the risks to animals, the damage to habitat and the potential risk of injury to visitors, the feeding of wildlife will be discouraged via an active education campaign. Within the WHA, the sale or provision of food for the feeding of wildlife by commercial operators will be prohibited.

[New] Wilderness mapping. Maintenance of wilderness is one of the primary ways that the values of the WHA are protected and conserved. Currently available GIS-based methodologies for wilderness assessment will be updated to take account of viewfields and the mountainous nature of Tasmania. The results will be made available as a priority for assessment of new proposals. [KFA]

[New] Increased Aboriginal involvement in management of the WHA. The Service recognises the special relationship that exists between the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and the WHA. The Service and the Aboriginal community will set up a partnership to manage for the conservation of Aboriginal values in the WHA. [KFA]

[New] Established (traditional) Practices. This section provides for the continuation of established practices, where these do not negatively impact on the values of the area. Partnerships with communities (particularly local communities) will provide for the direct involvement of the community in management of particular areas and values. Provision is made for companion dogs to be taken, under permit, to the Central Plateau Conservation Area and camps within the Macquarie Harbour Historic Site.

Increased fire research. Wildfires can be either destructive or regenerative depending on their timing, intensity and the ecological communities they affect. Managed fires can assist in the control of wildfire and can be a useful tool in habitat management to aid the maintenance of species and communities. The importance of accurate research into the use of fire is critical. The Service will markedly increase management-related fire research over the first five years of the plan. [KFA]

[New] Fuel Stove Only Area. An expanded Fuel Stove Only Area (an area where campfires are not allowed) covers most of the WHA, except day use areas where wood is provided, some sites in the Central Plateau, two sites on the South Coast Track and specified Macquarie Harbour camps.

Scientific research. Strict conditions apply for scientific research in the WHA. Collection of specimens requires a permit.


Major expansion of WHA internet site. The present World Wide Web site will be expanded with additional background material, more pre-visit information, education content for schools and major reports related to the WHA, including the text of this management plan. [KFA]

[New] Float planes and helicopters. An investigation will be undertaken to see if some lakes can be found, outside the Wilderness Zone, where floatplanes and/or helicopters could land with minimal conflict with other users and minimal environmental impact. A maximum of three sites will be allowed. Apart from this provision, conditions on landings remain as per the last plan.

Accommodation. At the time of writing, opportunities for further accommodation within and adjacent to the WHA are being examined. The plan details the process for approving new accommodation (the New Proposals and Impact Assessment Process) and provides criteria for siting.

[New] Bait fishing in inland waters. Baitfishing is as per Inland Fisheries Commission regulations. At the time of writing bait fishing is allowed in two lakes in the Central Plateau Conservation Area. Restrictions on bait types (eg no frogs) also apply.

[New] Diving. Preferred dive sites in the Bathurst Channel area are to be identified, education material on diving developed and, if necessary, conditions placed on the use of sensitive areas.

[New] Hobbies and crafts: fossicking. Fossicking for specified minerals is allowed at defined sites near Adamsfield, in the Adamsfield Conservation Area.

Horseriding. Current areas remain available under the present conditions and codes of practice. The old packhorse track to Adamsfield can also be considered.

Hunting. Hunting areas are to remain on the Eastern and Northern parts of the Central Plateau Conservation Area. Current boundaries can be varied as required though the overall size of the areas is to remain the same. Two possible small additional areas in and around Macquarie Harbour are to be investigated.

Huts. Existing huts and shacks will be subject to an assessment for their cultural and recreational significance and environmental impact. Huts may be retained, maintained or removed depending on the results of this assessment.

[New] Huts partnership. A partnership between the Service and interested members of the public will be encouraged to jointly manage publicly available huts within the WHA.

Vehicle access. Vehicle access remains largely the same as in the 1992 plan, with the exceptions that Raglan Range track has been closed and rehabilitated and the Mt McCall track remains open.

Walking Track Management Strategy. The WHA contains more than 1,000 kilometres of walking tracks and routes. The Walking Track Management Strategy will be finalised and implemented to sustainably manage this extensive track network. [KFA]

[New] Presenting the WHA: A Recreation and Tourism Strategy. The ‘natural quality’ of the WHA is one of the State’s major attractions for tourists. Tourism and recreation are also major ways of presenting the WHA to the public. To successfully marry visitors’ expectations and the requirement to present the WHA in the best way possible, a recreation and tourism strategy will be developed. The strategy is part of the Tasmanian government’s ‘whole of government’ approach to tourism. It involves assessing visitor needs in the WHA, looking at what is currently offered both commercially and by land management agencies, and putting together a strategy that meets market demand while minimising impacts on the world heritage and other natural and cultural values of the WHA. This strategy will be developed as a priority within 12 months of this plan being approved. [KFA]

Guided tours. Guided Tours may operate in any zone throughout the WHA subject to licence conditions and provided they abide by the conditions in the Walking Track Management Strategy.

[New] Commercial huts. A potential expansion of commercial huts is allowed within recreation zones (except Southwest National Park and the central major use areas of the Walls of Jerusalem National Park and the Central Plateau Conservation Area) if they meet market demand and environmental conditions.

[New] Film production. Commercial filming within the WHA is to be in accordance with the Service’s Commercial Filming Guidelines.


Mineral exploration and mining. These activities are potentially allowed in the Adamsfield Conservation Area under strict conditions.

Beekeeping. This activity may continue at current sites. No expansion is permitted unless further research indicates that apiary activities do not pose a threat to the natural processes and biota of the WHA. Further research into the environmental impacts of bees is encouraged.

Grazing. Due to the extensive erosion on the Central Plateau, domestic stock grazing will not be reintroduced into this area.

Aquaculture. Due to potential environmental and social impacts, farming of marine or freshwater species in the WHA is not permitted.

Commercial fishing. Restrictions on commercial sea fishing will be determined by a specific sea fishery management plan, taking account of the proposed Bathurst Harbour – Port Davey area marine reserve.

Driftwood salvage. The salvage of Huon pine from Macquarie Harbour is allowed to continue.


This section authorises certain Statutory Powers other than those under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970 to operate within the WHA subject to certain conditions. The rights of private landholders within the WHA are also noted.


Management bases. Additional management responsibility and decision making power will be delegated to rangers in the field.

Staffing. Adequate staff levels and capacity will be maintained to carry out the tasks required by this plan.


Sympathetic management. Adjacent land holders will be encouraged to manage areas adjacent to the WHA in a manner sympathetic to maintaining the values and presentation of the WHA.

Management plans for adjacent areas. Management plans will be prepared for high priority areas adjacent to the WHA that are managed by the Service.