First Ranger’s Wrap from Ranger Ben
Hail, walkers, riders, visitors, neighbours and all friends of Wellington Park, past, present and future! This is the first Ranger’s Wrap for many moons and my first as the ‘new’ Ranger while Lydia Marino is on leave. It is high time I introduced myself – briefly I promise – and for an update on what’s happening in the Park as well as what’s on the horizon.
My name is Ben Masterman and I made Hobart my home for the second time three years ago, this time for good. And those three years have been great: I started with a six month stint as a GreenCorps Team Leader with several young charges on the North South track, stage 2. I so enjoyed the trackwork that I went to work in the HCC track unit for the next 18 months. Twelve months on the third and final stage of the North South track followed, before the Ranger job came up and so, here I am. Before that I was a high school teacher of French and English. Bit of a diverse bio but what can I say – c’est la vie!
There is movement on the Mountain (beyond the slither and slink of snake and skink). With several developments under way in the Park, the future for users of Wellington Park looks quite exciting. Naturally, with change comes challenge, for managers and users alike. As Park visitor numbers increase and their interests and activities diversify, we risk "loving it to death". As Ranger I’ll be doing my best to ensure the values of the Park are known, understood and respected by all.
With the Greater Hobart Mountain Bike Master Plan (GHMTBMP for short!) now endorsed by the Trust, we can expect a rolling out of changes and additions to the track network. All proposed works in Wellington Park are subject to further investigation of natural, cultural and safety issues, so rest assured the resulting work will exhibit the kind of quality people have so admired in the universally lauded North South track. But of course, good things take time. In the meantime we ask bikers and walkers to use the track network as it currently stands and restrain themselves from jumping the gun. Keep an eye on the website and the usual news channels (walking clubs, bike shops and clubs, websites, Capital City News etc) for developments and contact us for more information.
Around the Mountain tracks, as ever, authorised officers from Hobart and Glenorchy City Councils and Southern Water invigilate against the usual unauthorised antics: trail biking, dogs off lead, mountain bikes on walking-only tracks. Please, download the excellent information sheets and maps from www.wellingtonpark.org.au/publications/ before you find yourself the unexpected and/or unhappy recipient of an infringement notice!
In the past six months there have been 40 Infringement notices and cautions issued. With penalties starting at $130 per offence, I urge all visitors to seek out information and/or heed signage before entering the Park.
Finally, if you feel the Ranger could benefit from a little intelligence please feel free to contact me by email or 0408 517 534.
See you down the track!