There will be a collective cheer echoing throughout the Snowy Valleys this week as salvage operations in the state forests bordering Blowering Dam’s western foreshore area temporarily cease over the Easter long weekend.
This means a limited area at the popular camping and fishing spot will be open to the public from noon Thursday 1 April 2021 until noon Tuesday 6 April 2021.
The news from Forestry Corporation of NSW follows calls from Batlow, Tumbarumba, Talbingo and Tumut community members, backed by NSW Wagga Wagga MP Dr Joe McGirr – for the fire-affected area of the dam to be reopened to “at least some tourists” by Easter.
Dr McGirr said he took the concerns to Macquarie Street speaking of the impacts of the summer 2019-2021 bushfires on local tourism, particularly the closure of Blowering Dam’s western foreshore which – due to recent rains – is looking its shimmering best.
The western foreshore was closed after it was heavily impacted by the Dunns Road fire last summer.
Forestry Corporation’s Snowy Regional Manager Dean Anderson said road crews have been working for the past 12 months to make the area safe with this work well tested following recent strong winds and torrential rain.
“The area we have made safe is limited to the camping area on Blowering Camp road,” Mr Anderson said.
“All other areas of the western foreshore are still dangerous and remain closed.”
Access will be via Snubba Road and Yellowin Access road, via Batlow or Laurel Hill, and the gate will be unlocked at noon Thursday 1 April 2021. The area will be closed and relocked at noon Tuesday 6 April 2021.
There is no access from Talbingo due to the condition of the roads.
“The area cannot be left open as we still have significant activity resuming after Easter with log and gravel trucks constantly working in the area,” Mr Anderson said.
“Forestry Corporation has two contractors working full-time in the area, except for the Easter break, repairing roads and making silt dams safe.”
There is also a harvesting crew working on the steep slopes salvaging the burnt pine trees. They will be resuming their work on Tuesday morning 6 April 2021
“For the safety of you and your family and for the safety of those who may be asked to volunteer to rescue you, we ask that no one ventures past any signs or closed areas as we still have significant risk from falling burnt trees and branches and washed out roads.
“There is no booking system so we ask everyone to be courteous and work together with your fellow visitors to share the spots available. Of course, also be mindful of COVID health guidelines and social distance.
“Campers will need to self-notify or ‘check-in’ on the Forestry Corporation website as part of our COVID protocols.”
So far Forestry Corporation has spent $1.3 million on repairing some of the devastation caused by the fire in the State forests next to Blowering Dam with ongoing work set to continue well into 2021.