Up­grad­ing Bloom­field Track

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Angelique Pat­ter­son

PLANS are in mo­tion to up­grade Bloom­field Track and high­light ar­eas of cul­tural and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­por­tance while pre­serv­ing the area.

On Mon­day Wu­jal Wu­jal Shire Coun­cil hosted a meet­ing of lo­cal coun­cils, busi­ness, tourism and govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Cook­town to Cairns to dis­cuss preser­va­tion and how best to pro­mote the area.

Wet Trop­ics Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity man­ager of com­mu­ni­ties and part­ner­ships Dr Paul Chantrill hosted the meet­ing and said there was a ‘‘com­mon ethos’’ of agree­ment that more needs to be done to en­hance the tourism ex­pe­ri­ence of the Bloom­field Track.

‘‘We see this as a great op­por­tu­nity for all coun­cils, in­clud­ing the new Dou­glas Shire when it comes into ex­is­tence, to cel­e­brate and pro­mote this out­stand­ing tourism ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to work to­gether to pro­mote and de­velop the area, find a com­mon brand­ing ap­proach and ty­ing in all of those in­ter­est­ing things such as the his­tory of the Bloom­field Block­ade, which started the move­ment 30 years ago to es­tab­lish it as a World Her­itage area.

‘‘It can be as sim­ple as hav­ing signs to show peo­ple the rich his­tory, rich di­ver­sity and the con­nec­tion with in­dige­nous peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly the Wu­jal Wu­jal com­mu­nity which is a key part­ner.’’

Dr Chantrill said the aim was to slow peo­ple down, in­stead of us­ing the track as an ac­cess to Cook­town, but rather to ‘‘go off the beaten track’’ and ap­pre­ci­ate the hid­den se­crets of Bloom­field Track.

‘‘From hid­den beaches, views of fring­ing coral reef seen nowhere else in the wet trop­ics to hid­den water­ways, there is an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence na­ture and in­dige­nous cul­ture of the area and keep the fron­tier ex­pe­ri­ence, while mak­ing much more of it,’’ he said.

‘‘ In­ter­lock­ing the ex­pe­ri­ences off the Bloom­field Track to open up the rare and spe­cial en­vi­ron­ment, such a beau­ti­ful tourism ex­pe­ri­ence needs to be pre­served.’’

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing the group is go­ing to do an au­dit, or ac­tion plan, to doc­u­ment spe­cial fea­tures of the area and share col­lec­tive ideas and dis­cuss where to de­velop sig­nage and pre­sen­ta­tions to give peo­ple a chance to learn and un­der­stand more about the Bloom­field Track and the Dain­tree rain­for­est.

The next step will then be to seek fund­ing and sup­port to make it a re­al­ity and Dr Chantrill said this ini­tia­tive ‘‘con­nects strongly’’ with the State Govern­ment’s Queens­land Drive Tourism Strat­egy and also the Com­mon­wealth’s National Land­scape pro­ject, con­sid­er­ing the Wet Trop­ics is listed in the top 15 land­scapes in Aus­tralia for tourism.

JOINT EF­FORT: Tara Ben­nett (Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree), Mike D’Arcy (tour op­er­a­tor), Ju­lia Leu (Di­vi­sion 10 Coun­cil­lor) and Dr Paul Chantrill (Wet Trop­ics Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity) work­ing to pro­mote the Bloom­field Track

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