A 20-year vision for the iconic White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate will provide a roadmap to balance the preservation of rich biodiversity and strong cultural values with the estate’s unprecedented growth in nature-based recreation.
Ipswich City Council has developed a master plan for the Enviroplan-funded conservation estate that provides a four-stage action plan for enhancing visitor experience whilst protecting the estate’s values, as well as environmental management and improvement, which could be presented for future budgets.
Mayor Teresa Harding said it is important to plan for the future of the White Rock–Spring Mountain Conservation Estate, which is just one of the attractions that makes Ipswich a highly liveable region and a tourist destination for families from around the state.
“The healthy outdoor activities such as bushwalking, horse riding and mountain biking at the estate make it enormously popular with locals and visitors,” Mayor Harding said.
“We expect this popularity to increase in the coming years, as the surrounding suburbs, such as Ripley, Spring Mountain and Redbank experience the fastest growth in the region.
“That is why council’s 20-year vision for how this important Enviroplan conservation estate could be upgraded is essential – we want the estate to be preserved for the future while meeting the needs of visitors.”
Just one of the estate entries at Paperbark Flats recorded almost 50,000 people entering in 2017. By 2019 that figure had grown to almost 75,000 visitors, and the numbers continue to climb in 2020.
The first stage of the vision includes improving existing tracks, boardwalks and interpretative signage particularly around focal points such as White Rock and the Bluff to educate visitors on cultural landscape features and their cultural value.
“We would engage with stakeholders on the development of any themed trails and additional nature-based recreation areas,” Mayor Harding said.
The master plan includes an upgrade to Paperbark Flats picnic area, and a great idea about using native plants in landscaped areas to showcase species we can also have in our gardens at home.
Division 1 Councillor Jacob Madsen said the 2,633 hectare estate is Ipswich’s biggest protected natural area and its preservation was only possible through council’s Enviroplan Levy.
“White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate provides the ‘green lungs’ for our region and essential habitat for 14 significant species,” Cr Madsen said.
“Its preservation is also essential to South-East Queensland’s native plants and animals as part of the Flinders – Karawatha Corridor.”
Cr Madsen acknowledged this estate remains culturally significant to the Traditional owners.
“There are many sacred sites within this estate including White Rock, the caves and outcrop overhangs, providing a link between Country and personal identity and allow the passing on of cultural knowledge,” he said.
“Properly identifying, protecting and promoting these environmentally and culturally significant sites is important to making sure this conservation estate is available for future generations to enjoy.”
The White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate Master Plan 2020-2040 was endorsed at the General Purposes Committee and is expected to go to Full Council next week.
Ipswich has one of the most diverse ranges of natural vegetation types in South-East Queensland, with more than 2000 recorded species of native plants and animals.
Enviroplan Levy is funded by ratepayers of Ipswich for projects and initiatives that protect and maintain vital ecosystems and natural environmental values.
This includes purchasing and protecting significant nature conservation land, engaging and supporting the community with conservation activities and education, building our understanding through research, planning and management activities and delivering on-ground environmental projects and programs within conservation estates and reserves.
White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate
Located just 20 minutes from the Ipswich Central Business District, White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate features the distinctive, sculptured, rocky outcrops of White Rock and Spring Mountain.
Covering over 2,500 hectares of regionally significant bushland, the Estate also features extensive forested ridges, escarpments and valleys that are home to an amazing array of plant and wildlife species.
Visitors can enjoy the full gamut of outdoor activities including hiking, bird-watching, horse riding (bring your own horse), mountain bike riding and nature study. For the bushwalker, there’s everything from a leisurely 200 metre walk to the more challenging 19 kilometre round trip trail, with most of the trails suitable for hiking and mountain bike riding. If you’re on horseback, then the Yaddamun Trail is perfect.
The entry to the Estate is the Paperbark Flats Picnic Area, at the end of School Road in Redbank Plains. Amenities on site include toilets, picnic facilities and horse float parking.