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Sugar Pine Walk a thousand times better

Roger Davies of Forestry NSW with Sugar Pine seedlings for planting

More than a thousand pine seedlings have started their decades-long journey to replace the iconic Sugar Pine Walk in Bago State Forest, which was sadly lost in the 2020 Black Summer bushfires.  Source: Timberbiz

The former site was planted in 1928 as a range of different exotic species were being trialled for the forestry industry, later growing to become a majestic landmark for tourists and locals alike, said Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Silviculture manager, Roger Davies.

“These tiny seedlings have a long way to go, but this is an important step in rebuilding the site and the tourism experience of the area,” Mr Davies said.

“The new site will also incorporate a number of large towering Radiata Pine that survived the bushfire to form part of the new Bago State Forest tourism precinct.

“This project is funded by the NSW Government to enhance visitor experience in the forest.”

Around 1,500 new seedlings were planted at the site last month, these initially self-seeded after the devastation of the bushfire, and later collected and propagated to form the 2021 Sugar Pine Walk planting cohort.

“The new Sugar Pine seedlings literally grew from the ashes, so are somewhat symbolic for the region’s recovery and also necessary for the replacement walk,” Mr Davies said.

“The species is threatened in its native North America and biosecurity prevents seed from being imported into Australia.

“Locally, the hefty cones are also a favourite food source for cockatoos, so getting replacement seedlings has been no small feat.

“I am excited that future generations will be able to experience the magic of walking amongst giants.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said upgrades and replanting of trees at the Sugar Pine Walk was made possible through the Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund.

“The Black Summer bushfires dealt a huge blow to ecotourism in fire affected areas and the NSW Government is backing projects that will bring nature-based tourism activities back to life and support regional economies,” Mr Barilaro said.

Grant-funded works include new and upgraded visitor areas, amenities and sculpture works under the guidance of project partners including Sculptures by the Sea.

“Replanting of the new Sugar Pine walk is the first step in ensuring this unique and beloved visitor experience endures,” Mr Davies said.

“The RGETF grant-funded project will ensure that future visitors have an engaging and memorable forest experience in this special part of the world.”