Voluntary Walker Registration System to continue
A system of voluntary bushwalker registration on some popular walks in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) was introduced by PWS last summer in an attempt to address the problems caused by recent massive increases in walker numbers in some areas at some times.
On 29 August 2022 the PWS held a workshop for selected stakeholders (recreational user groups but including TNPA) to review insights into the operation of the system and a revised communications plan. There was some useful discussion on the pros and cons of particular approaches, especially the complications of making any aspect of the system mandatory or charging fees – both considered measures of last resort by PWS.
Despite a walker survey conducted by PWS last summer, there were few insights into the motivations of walkers who had not registered (most survey respondents were walkers who had registered). The single most relevant statistic presented was an estimate by Wilderness Rangers (formerly known as Track Rangers) that 70-90% of all walkers had registered.
It appears no attempt has been made to relate registrations to actual walker numbers as recorded by counters, nor an has an attempt been made to estimate the number of nights on which particular campsites were significantly over capacity (the ostensible aim of the voluntary registration system is to – for both environmental and social reasons – constrain use to sustainable levels in the Eastern and Western Arthur Ranges, Frenchmans Cap, the Mount Anne Circuit, the Walls of Jerusalem and Lake Rhona).
It is not apparent that PWS has a systematic approach to identifying and addressing the shortcomings or monitoring the effectiveness of the system. Nevertheless, PWS considers the voluntary registration system successful but notes there is room for improvement; it will be kept in place with minor refinements.