Graham Burgess, Illawarra Branch President, National Parks Association of NSW
NPA Illawarra has a rich history dating back around 37 years. In 2010 there was a turning point as most of the long-standing and hardworking branch executive decided to call it a day and hand over to some fresh faces. Over the last seven years or so the new executive has focused its efforts on being part of the community conversation about protecting nature in our region. Most of our work relates to the impact of urban development on the Illawarra Escarpment and other bushland on our quite narrow coastal stip. With this focus our involvement on Wollongong Council’s community reference groups is an important feature and we have positions on two of these groups.
Sydney is the envy of millions of urban dwellers around the world who can only dream of living in a city with such spectacular natural beauty. The National Parks fringing the city—Ku-ring-gai, Blue Mountains and Royal—are an integral part of Sydney’s beauty and attractiveness, and a vital haven for Sydneysiders to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Social media power leads Illawarra Branch and Bushwalk the ‘Gong to decide to work together to launch a Walk of the Month program in the Illawarra.
For a few years, the NPA has been offering a Sydney based Walk of the Month program in conjunction with Wildwalks.com. The walks are advertised to the public through the internet and this magazine. Illawarra Branch have been keen to replicate this program in our region with the view to promoting bushwalking, enjoyment and knowledge of the Illawarra bushland.
The branch has been watching with interest the success of a new local initiative called Bushwalk the ‘Gong which was established in 2016 and has enjoyed good local media coverage. Recently an opportunity arose for us to join forces with Bushwalk the ‘Gong to offer a Walk of the Month style program in the Illawarra. We expect this will widen the participation and reach of the branch.