When a part of the tallest mountain in Queensland slipped down the cliff during a downpour, rangers from the Department of Environment and Science quickly stepped in to get the trail back on track
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Principal Ranger Carol Kinnaird said Mount Bartle Frere is in the Wooroonooran National Park and the Bartle Frere trail is surrounded by rainforest.
“On Friday 10 September, a walker on the Bartle Frere trail between Josephine Falls and the summit of Mount Bartle Frere came to an abrupt halt,” Ms Kinnaird said.
“Just visible through the thick cloud enveloping the top of the mountain was a gaping hole where a part of the trail had disappeared down the mountain.
“Worried about the safety of others, the walker called QPWS rangers that afternoon to report the damage to the trail, and QPWS thanks her for her diligence.
“Park rangers acted quickly to close the trail and contacted people who had booked to walk the trail in the upcoming days to advise them of the damage.
“At 7am on Tuesday 14 September, the weather cleared enough for QPWS rangers to safely fly by helicopter to the summit and walk down to the landslip site.
“We stood at the landslip and surveyed the damage, which was about 40m wide and at an elevation of 1,367m.
“The landslip formed a gouge in the side of the mountain, stripping it of dirt, rocks and dozens of trees and sending it all tumbling down the cliff face.
“Thankfully the slip happened on a corner of the trail and the damage was not as bad as anticipated, with about 5m of trail lost.”
Ms Kinnaird said rangers strung ‘danger’ tape around the impacted area of the trail and blazed another route to the west of the site, realigning the trail away from the slip edge.
“The repair works allowed the Mount Bartle Frere Trail to be reopened around midday on 14 September, and we could then reopen the track,” she said.
“Landslips on mountains are not uncommon, and the top edges of the slip remain unstable with loose boulders and undermined trees.
“There may be another minor slip at the site if there’s another downpour, so walkers are advised to stay away from the old trail and observe the ‘danger’ tape.
“People should check the QPWS park alerts page for updated information before heading to the Bartle Frere trail.
“When the mountain isn’t surrounded by clouds, the summit of the Bartle Frere trail allows walkers a glorious view of the Atherton tablelands and the coastal area.
“The best time to take the Bartle Frere trail to the summit is usually between April and October, when the chance of rain or clouds hanging around the mountain is lower.
“Thousands of people visit the summit each year and it is a favourite with local bushwalking associations.”
People are asked to report issues with trails on QPWS managed estate by calling 1300 130 372.