Yurol and Ringtail Project
The latest information is available in the latest fact sheet
In October 2017, Council gave approval in principle to a project that will be part funded by the Environment Levy and will result in 2,400ha of land within Yurol and Ringtail State Forests transitioning to National Park status over the next 10 years. The Forests are within the Pomona and Ringtail Creek localities of the Shire. More than half of the area is currently subject to long term plantation harvest rights held by HQPlantations.
The proposed change from State Forest to protected area tenure will result in permanent protection of this important corridor between Cooloola and Tewantin National Parks. It provides valuable habitat for a range of threatened species including the koala.
This is a unique project with commercial, community, local and state government organisations working together to achieve a significant outcome for the environment.
A Transition Committee with representation by all the parties to the proposed agreement will oversee implementation of the project.
The project is subject to finalisation of detailed contracts but the broad intention is that:
The State, Noosa Council and Noosa Parks Association will equally share the cost of $3.5M to buy out HQPlantation’s long term harvest rights over an area of approx. 1,492ha.
Council’s share of the plantation licence acquisition costs will be funded from the Environment Levy.
HQPlantations have voluntarily agreed to this arrangement as it aligns with their Forest Stewardship principles.
Approx. 900ha of State Forest that is not subject to HQPlantation’s harvest rights will be transferred to National Park as soon as possible but within the next five years. A small area will be held back so State Forestry can meet their obligations for some timber supply but ultimately that area will also transition to National Park.
HQPlantations have agreed that they will not harvest any of their current hardwood areas under their existing licence and they will cease their pine plantation harvest operations within 5 years or possibly sooner once they have harvested their remaining pine forests.
The pine harvested area of 750ha will become interim Conservation Park with Council as trustee.
A targeted rehabilitation program will be implemented for the pine harvested areas with Council and the Noosa Parks Association funding those costs. Some areas may be left to naturally regenerate as there is already evidence that previously harvested areas are naturally recovering whereas other areas may need some assistance with planting of suitable trees, particularly koala food trees.
Council will commit to funding rehabilitation for up to five years. At the end of the five-year rehabilitation period the former pine planation area will also transition to National Park. Every opportunity will be sought for grant funding from other levels of government and philanthropic organisations to minimise the cost of rehabilitation.