Some of you may have met me about the place but I am a fairly recent Hobart resident of the last 18 months. I've just recently headed up the mountain and noted that there is a lot of work that has commenced on access tracks, tags and the like. At the outset I must congratulate those that have taken the time and effort to do this, the small tags are unobtrusive and a good way to mark the start of tracks. I am not sure if this is in conjunction with Wellington Park management or not, I know that there were murmurings of this about the place. I must admit that I am a little disturbed by the extent of some of the track clearing that has been done. Climbing for me is a minimal disturbance activity, I can't speak for all others but part of the enjoyment for myself and many other climbers I know in all parts of the world is the sense of untouched natural beauty. I have at times taken secateurs or small folding saws into places that I have frequented to keep tracks just clear enough that you aren't getting a face full of the dozens of spikey plants in the Australian bush however the works that have been done on the mountain I feel are a little excessive.
I am also somewhat shocked to read that people have been "gardening" established vegetation on routes such as Digitalis. On previous visits I have also seen shrubs and small trees around Great Tier and Bulging Buttress have been removed from cracks and ledges on the rock face. Removing established vegetation as opposed to the odd bit of grass or moss ceases to be gardening and progresses to vandalism. Established vegetation in cracks and on ledges are a part of the trad climbing landscape, they often form holds or viable protection, but this is also their home. We are all temporary and transient visitors to these places and should be more considerate and cognisant of the environment and ecosystem that vegetation in the vertical world represents.
Aside from this removal of vegetation in Wellington Park and National Parks/Conservation Areas is illegal. If you happen to find yourself with a new gardening tool for Christmas or a birthday present then get your fix at home on the wood pile or the neighbour's fruit trees, not halfway up a cliff where a warratah or hakea seems inconveniently placed. Again I must stress that I am appreciative of the efforts made by people to improve the tracks to single clear points of access however if there is to be significant work or removal of vegetation or even new routes for that matter then the pulse of the wider climbing community should be sought not just those who have the time, tools and inclination to act on the community's behalf.
I am more than happy to discuss
Regards, Tim Smith