National park for Yass Valley closer

 A group working toward creating a national park in the Yass Valley is confident it has support to make the project happen.

The Ginninderra Falls Association plans to speak to the new councillors at an open forum to gauge their interest.

“We’re interested in engaging with the new mayor and councillors,” association president Chris Watson said.

The association has been meeting with politicians from NSW and the ACT and wants to get them out to the gorge to see what they are hoping to protect.

There is around 900 hectares near the border that has been tagged for a national park. Around 700ha of that is in the Yass Valley.

The park would take in 200ha of the Woodstock Nature Reserve in Canberra, the Ginninderra Falls and another gorge on the Murrumbidgee River.

“It’s only a few old timers that know the gorge is there. Very few people have been down there,” Dr Watson said.

Then ACT chief minister Katy Gallagher wrote to the NSW premier recently, outlining her support for the project.

Landowner in the area and committee member Anna Hyles is hopeful the support the group has had so far will culminate in the falls being put in public hands.

“For us I think the right result is that some public entity takes it on,” she said.

“What we’re hoping is they get some sort of working group together which would have somebody from TAMS [Territory and Municipal Services in the ACT], someone from the Yass council and people from the Ginninderra Falls Association,” Ms Hyles said.

“In this region, they are the most significant waterfall within a couple of hours drive. When it rains the view is absolutely amazing.”

Before the council elections last month the association wrote to prospective councillors and asked their views on the issue.

Councillor Greg Butler said his running group supported the need to conserve and manage the natural assets of the local government area.

“We agree that the Ginninderra Falls and surrounds comprise a natural asset in this category,” he said in an email to the falls association, published on their website.

Cr Ann Daniel, in the same forum, said she supported the concept of the national park but wanted more information, particularly with regard to private ownership of land in the area.

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