Representatives from the Forest Embassy have been in Braidwood to raise awareness of logging currently being undertaken on the Corn Trail.
The 8 kilometre-long Corn Trail is an historic track linking the Monga Forest with the coast. It was originally a track used by the Indigenous people of the region to walk between the coast and the tablelands, and was built along a songline.
After European settlement of the region, the Corn Trail became the track along which supplies were transported from the coast to the farms and settlements on the tablelands. After the road up Clyde Mountain was built, it ceased to be used for transport and is now a popular mountain biking, horse riding and hiking trail.
Last Saturday, Keri and Jos, representing the Forest Embassy, were busy in Braidwood letting locals and passers-by know that logging had commenced in the lower part of the Corn Trail. Jos told the Braidwood Times that the Friends of the Forest organisation had been told by the EPA that logging would commence in early 2019, but in fact the Forestry Corporation of New South Wales moved into the area and commenced operations in October 2018.
The Forest Embassy was established by a group of local residents in the Central Tilba area in protest against logging in the Corunna Forest. Keri and Jos said that the main concerns held by the group regarding the Corn Trail were loss of habitat, particularly of the eastern spotted quoll, and the loss of an area of rain forest in the area.
“Forestry Corp’s information is based on an ecological survey that expired in February 2017”, Jos said, “and no cultural survey has been done at all.
“There also should be a 12 hectare exclusion zone around the habitat of the spotted quoll”.
The eastern spotted quoll is listed as ‘vulnerable’ at state level and ‘endangered’ at commonwealth level. There is photographic evidence of its existence along the Corn Trail along with GPS coordinates indicating precise locations of habitat. Local residents in Reidsdale and Mongarlowe have reported having lost poultry to quolls, mainland Australia’s only carnivorous marsupial, over recent months.
While the logging is taking place in the Bega electorate, held by Andrew Constance, the top part of the Corn Trail is in Monaro. The Braidwood Times has contacted both the Member for Monaro, John Barilaro, and Labor candidate for the electorate, Bryce Wilson, for comment.