Have a say in park future

Canberra Nature ParkMuch has been said about the Griffin legacy. Their astute planning principles led to the enduring architectural design of our city. The contribution of American architects Walter Burley and Marion Mahoney Griffin is well-grounded in our region's folklore.

As designers, the Griffins required one crucial element: to celebrate the natural features of this land and incorporate the hills, the ridges and the creeks into the design of the city.

To my mind, the real heroes behind the story of the bush capital are the map makers. The surveyors who sited a city, and foresaw an opportunity to grow and expand.

After all, city planners required something to draw on.

Surveyor-General Charles Robert Scrivener delivered. His surveyors produced detailed maps of exquisite beauty that were brilliantly hand drawn.

In capturing the bush capital of the future, surveyors mapped the rocky ridges, the knolls and the mountains that gracefully rise from the grassy limestone plains. They would become known as Mt Ainslie, Red Hill and Black Mountain.

With time they became conservation sanctuaries, set aside and protected from residential expansion. Today they help make up Canberra Nature Park, a bushland oasis. The jewel in our crown.

Canberra Nature Park is 37 nature reserves interlaced within the fabric of our community. They are the beating ecological heart of the bush capital.

A draft management plan for the park was recently crafted, and we want to hear from you about the park's opportunities and challenges as we protect the intrinsic natural, cultural and recreational values of a unique conservation estate.

The management plan balances the various elements of Canberra Nature Park. The priority is to conserve the natural environment and protect the endangered woodlands, grasslands and species that call this place home.

We want to understand your perspective on how you use these reserves so that, collectively, we can develop a management plan that meets our community needs and our conservation values, and pays homage to the Griffins' vision of a grand city surrounded by wooded hills.

Given most people have their favourite patch, each reserve within the park has its own 'plan on a page'. You can comment on your patch, or even part of it, if you wish.

Canberra Nature Park provides a way for people to connect with nature, which contributes enormously to the health and wellbeing of our community. With an eye to the future, the draft plan lays out how we can better connect with this natural landscape.

Canberra Nature Park belongs to you. It's a natural community asset. It's unique and underpins what living in the bush capital is all about. To shape its future visit www.yoursay.act.gov.au/act-parks

Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks & Conservation Service.

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful platypus.

Article also appeared in The Chronicle