Southern walking tracks on Lord Howe Island have re-opened, subject to strict hygiene requirements and additional staffing in place to monitor and ensure compliance with protocols.
As part of a staged approach to deal with a myrtle rust outbreak on the island, based on the best available technical and scientific advice, all walking tracks in the Permanent Park Preserve (PPP) are now open.
Atticus Fleming, Chair of the Lord Howe Island Board, said dealing quickly with the myrtle rust infestation was important given the serious risk it poses to the island’s world heritage values and nature-based tourism industry.
‘The decision to reopen tracks takes into account:
- there are no active spores in known infestation sites
- no additional infestations have been detected after extensive searches including across the settlement area and on the walking tracks
- rigorous protocols are in place to monitor and manage myrtle rust risks, with all walkers required to effectively treat equipment, clothing, packs and footwear.
‘Over 4000 susceptible plants have been mapped in the settlement area, preventative spraying has been carried out, rigorous hygiene protocols to enter the PPP are in place and additional staff are at key entry points to educate walkers and monitor compliance.
‘Additional hygiene measures are also in place at the airport.
‘The good news is that the response effort has been implemented rapidly and effectively,’ Mr Fleming said.
The Lord Howe Island Board thanks the community for its assistance and cooperation in reaching this positive point in the eradication process.
Ongoing vigilance will be required given myrtle rust spores can remain active for several weeks. Success of the re-opening strategy will be kept under review.