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Thread: Discrimination or not

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Addict geoffsta's Avatar
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    Discrimination or not

    I recently went up to an area I haven’t been for about 25 years. It was up at the head of the Murray River in an area called the Cobberas.
    Last time I was there we had to walk about a kilometer to were the river was, on a fairly good track.
    When I went up there this time the parking area was in a different spot, and I walked in about 8km and still didn’t arrive at the location. As it was getting late I was forced to return back to the car.

    Now I agree that we must protect our flora and fauna, and protect areas for future generations. But is this necessary.
    This is a lovely area, and should be for all to see. I believe that having a setup like that discriminates against the aged, frail and handicapped, who have no chance now to see such a lovely area. There would be no chance to push someone in a wheelchair to the area, or assist the elderly. To me great areas like this are only for the extremely fit walk a thousand mile type person.
    Should we say that if you want to go to a major city, you must park 10km’s away and walk in. No.
    If you want to go up to Mt Wellington, Mt Hotham or Mt Kosiusko should we ask people to park miles away, and walk to the top. I really don’t think so.

    I know there must be many areas like this. There are many members involved with this forum that would not get a chance to see these Australian icons because of degree of fitness, or some form of disability.

    Do you feel the same, or is it just me.
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    This sort of change is inevitable Geoff. As the population increases, the park managers become more and more concerned about use damage to the natural environment - introduction of weeds, diseases, depletion of fish stocks, fires, and all the many other things that humans tend to do to destroy places. Now that concern may or may not be justified in this particular instance, but it is most certainly a very real and significant concern more broadly. As the population continues to increase, so too the condition of our natural areas continue to decline, and the rules restricting access to them will get more and more restrictive. Just a fact of life.
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    Other side of the hill ... WhoDo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    As the population continues to increase, so too the condition of our natural areas continue to decline, and the rules restricting access to them will get more and more restrictive. Just a fact of life.
    I do understand your point, Tony, but I have to ask myself "Who are we protecting these areas for, park rangers and academics?" Rather than restricting access, perhaps we should be looking at ways of providing access without damage. The typical solutions include elevated walkways and dedicated access corridors and viewing platforms. Ok, so providing carparks in the middle of natural attractions isn't a good idea, but people should still be encouraged to get out and see these things, even if it means providing some form of sympathetic transport system.
    Last edited by WhoDo; 02-07-2011 at 4:24pm.
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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    I can think of a few national parks that would be hugely improved by having to walk 10 km to get into them...
    All constructive criticism accepted with gratitude.


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    We are preserving them for our children, Whodo. For the future. For the priceless and irreplacable knowledge that is contained in them, for the equally priceless and equally irreplacable beauty that is contained in them. Only by preserving intact areas now is it possible for our children to start restoring some of the damage we have done. Only by preserving biodiversity today is it possible to retain it in the future.

    Why not get to the real heart of the problem and not keep on madly breeding and importing more and more and more people? None of these things I mention are a problem if we don't have too many people.

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    Other side of the hill ... WhoDo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    We are preserving them for our children, Whodo. For the future. For the priceless and irreplacable knowledge that is contained in them, for the equally priceless and equally irreplacable beauty that is contained in them. Only by preserving intact areas now is it possible for our children to start restoring some of the damage we have done. Only by preserving biodiversity today is it possible to retain it in the future.
    Ok, but what if our children are disabled and cannot access these areas by foot? The "irreplaceable beauty" isn't worth much if no-one gets to see it, IMHO. It's like owning a priceless work of art and keeping it in a vault! What's the point? I still say there has to be a way to make such places accessible without destroying or irretrievably damaging them, surely.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    We are preserving them for our children, Whodo. For the future. For the priceless and irreplacable knowledge that is contained in them, for the equally priceless and equally irreplacable beauty that is contained in them. Only by preserving intact areas now is it possible for our children to start restoring some of the damage we have done. Only by preserving biodiversity today is it possible to retain it in the future.
    Good point tannin. But as you said "rules restricting access to them will get more and more restrictive" Even our kids wont see these areas, because they will be restricted. Plus one lightning strike, and it will all be gone for everyone. And that has happened in many areas.
    Why not let us photographers in there, so at least our kids can see pictures?
    Last edited by geoffsta; 02-07-2011 at 4:34pm.

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    It's a catch 22, provide better access and too many people come and you get the idiots who don't respect the environment enough and cause more damage. I'd also argue an elevated platform isn't always the most sustainable way to make low impact access.

    Look I'm all for equal access but I hate seeing the highways some parks call walking tracks these days. I say if you really want to see it, you have to earn it. I know that can cause discrimination but let's be fair here, you can't make the bush, forests or mountains totally accessible to all users.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoDo View Post
    Rather than restricting access, perhaps we should be looking at ways of providing access without damage. The typical solutions include elevated walkways and dedicated access corridors and viewing platforms.
    Waz, therein lies the double rub, if you have a look at these images that Geoff posted from "our backyard" you will see the start of a fairly extensive board walk that takes people on a stroll around the cape with minimal damage to the environment. It was constructed primarily as a project by the local indigenous council and the DSE to both provide access to some very appealing scenery without destroying both local cultural heritage and sensitive coast line. Sadly it seems, due to natural ageing of the structures and government budget restraints, the walkway may have to be closed for public safety.
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  10. #10
    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    I agree with Waz (WhoDo) If people are denied the interaction provided by National Parks, ie being able to access areas easily, then what the hell is a National Park for? People need to be able to interact or they will quickly lose interest in protecting national parks as there is nothing in it for them. They just need to provide access areas which do not damage the environment or at least have minimal impact.

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    geoff
    you no what its like geoff when you go for a walk in the scrub and you come across a lot of rubbish and whatever
    i believe if you make everything accessible
    there will be a hell of a lot of damage by the minority
    that will destroy a great deal of flora and fauna
    i am forever watching where i am walking and making sure i dont step on native plants and ground covers
    this is the problem when you open up the areas to all with easy accaess
    you get the car in further and then you think i drove that far i mighht as well walk in theere a bit further
    i believe that a few areas should be shut to the public for a while and let the native regrowth occur and rangers and so forth clean up at the same toim
    cheers macca

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    Lance what do you consider easy access? I visit a national park at least every weekend. There are always different tracks for different levels of fitness. Some are as sort as less than a km, how can they be more accessible? Yes not all parks are equal, but you can't make parks to have the same access everywhere. There has to be some understanding from ambulant people.

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    Other side of the hill ... WhoDo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikec View Post
    I know that can cause discrimination but let's be fair here, you can't make the bush, forests or mountains totally accessible to all users.
    Why not? Oh, I know that you are using absolutes (totally, all, etc), but that shouldn't preclude the effort, should it?

    Our bush and coastal areas in Australia are some of the oldest and most fragile environments there are. I want to see them preserved for future generations to enjoy, but I also want us to find ways of doing that inclusively wherever possible.

    "Earning (sic) access" shouldn't simply require fitness, for example. Some people who will never be fit enough through no fault of their own should still be able to enjoy the experience first hand, shouldn't they? I know it's a bit off topic as an example but look at Riding for the Disabled for one example.

    Look, I don't really know what I'm asking for here. Maybe it doesn't even exist yet, but I'd sure like to think that we who have such a great appreciation of natural beauty ought to be advocates for sharing that with all people wherever possible and not just saving it for a fortunate few. I guess that's all I'm saying.

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    My friends call me Dave
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    How far did you have to travel only to be disappointed like that Geoff.
    I went to my local lake/reserve which is my favourite Birding spot only to find rubbish laying on the
    ground that some lazy basted could not be bothered dumping in the nearest bin
    And it wasn't just a lolly paper or two but Macer's! and a family of 4 by the looks.
    So for a start blame that type of people, and the Greens don't help either wanting to lock everything up
    I dont mind conservation but not Green
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    Whodo, to give you some perspective, I work in the building industry (for an architect) to be specific. The building codes for disabled and equitable access are so strict there would be no way of providing this type of access to national parks without destroying it. And you would need to provide that level because the anti discrimination and equitable access laws are so strong these days even federal government could be sued if it wasn't done to the code.

    That's where I come from when talking about this, as well as my passion for recreation in national parks.

    There is no way to make all parts of our natural environment accessible for all. There has to be compromise. I know it's a fact and the day when I'm too enfeebled to be able to do what I do now, I'll have to accept it. And will do so knowing that it'll help preserve it for the next generation to enjoy.
    Last edited by mikec; 02-07-2011 at 5:28pm.

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    My friends call me Dave
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    It won't be long until they close state parks and charge a entry fee for the up keep of tracks and amenities
    Last edited by Duane Pipe; 02-07-2011 at 5:43pm.

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    The thing that must be understood here is that there is a direct relationship between the level of access permitted and the number of people wanting that access.

    If you go outback, to the parts where there are still very few people, you can do pretty much whatever you like (within reason), and go where you like. Nobody minds where you go because any small damage you do is likely to disappear and be erased by nature long before anyone sees it. There is no long-term harm. This is still the case in some parts of Australia today, but much less so than it was, say, 30 years ago.

    Park managers have to try to balance several very different requirements.

    (1) they are required to preserve the flora and fauna of the park intact. Remember that simply having people access the park at all can be very, very destructive. Fire is obvious, but land tends to recover from fire if you wait long enough. Far worse is invasion by feral plants and animals. Phytophthora fungus is a prime example. Some people know how to avoid spreading it, most don't.
    (2) they are required to provide public access so far as they can
    (3) they are required to, where possible, provide for different sorts of public access and use. For example, on some public land you are allowed to ride trail bikes, which wrecks the whole nature experience for every other user of that park. It would be sheer madness to allow trail bikes everywhere, as there would be nowhere you could escape from the noise and erosion and disruption to faunal breeding cycles. On the other hand, trailbike riders claim that they are entitled to their sport - so, somewhere along the way, there is a sensible compromise. Similarly, you can't sensibly go bushwalking where there is vechicle access. There is nothing worse than having some meathead turn up next to you with blaring stereo and destructive kids and generators running all night. Equally, there is nothing worse than having road access to your favourite spot blocked off - I should know, because with my gear I can't walk more than about 5k from thhe car, absolute max.

    But in the end, all of these problems only arise because we are trying to get more and more people into this country and the great Australian ability to go bush is fast disappearing.

  18. #18
    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    When I was a child you could drive up to just under the summit of Mt Kosiusko and it was just a short walk to the top. These days you park kilometres away and need to start early and be reasonably fit, especially in the time of year I am likely to visit, April or October. That means that unlike my father who took me the highest point in Australia, I had to show my son from a distance and point out to him the road and where it went and tell him what it was like decades earlier.

    It is a hard call as to what is needed to preserve something as opposed to providing public access and it will always be a compromise.
    Cheers

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    My friends call me Dave
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    But in the end, all of these problems only arise because we are trying to get more and more people into this country and the great Australian ability to go bush is fast disappearing.

    I agree
    Too many People. that just means more Clearing of our beautiful bushland to make way for them and our own growing population

  20. #20
    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Well I want to see the view from the top of Mt Everest. So the sooner there's a railway line up there the better. Until then, I'm glad that photography was invented so that I can see the views others have seen.
    Good topic Geoff

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