Plan for private tourist cabins in famous Aussie national park: 'Just not appropriate'

The cabins proposed for the Blue Mountains area in NSW will be built alongside the development of a luxury hiking experience.

The proposed cabins are green and brown in the landscape of the Gardens of Stone conservation area in the Blue Mountains.
The cabins will be built along the popular hike track in the Gardens of Stone conservation area of the Blue Mountains. Source: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services

A proposal to build cabins along a secluded multi-day hiking track in the Blue Mountains has come under scrutiny as critics suggest the landscape is being carved up and privatised in a bid to monetise the region.

The NSW government plans to build six private stay cabins on three different sites in the Gardens of Stone State Conservation Area and the accommodation will go hand in hand with its plan to permit Wildlife Bush Luxury, a company which provides luxury bush hikes, to develop a paid experience in the area.

It is unknown how much it would cost but Wildlife Bush Luxury charges thousands of dollars for hikes which span over three or four days. Alongside the cabins the proposal outlines plans to improve the hiking track in a bid to boost tourism and increase accessibility to existing attractions, with 4WD and motorbike touring available.

Cabins in Blue mountains sketch
The initiative will provide more options to tourists. Source: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services
The untouched landscape of the Blue Mountains with a hiker alone on a track.
The accomodation will be situated on three seperate sites in the national park. Source: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services

The proposed plans have received fierce pushback and a number of concerns have been raised by critics, however. Some believe the proposal will impact the "natural and cultural heritage" of the landscape while the cabins will create a "visual blight" which will disrupt views. Those opposed to the development also argue waste generated from the accomodation will raise pollution concerns for nearby Carne Creek.

A Facebook page has been created to shine a light on the proposal in a bid to protect the region, with critics encouraging others to speak up.

"Sounds dodgy," one local commented, citing concern for reducing public access to certain areas. "Anything limiting public access or bringing only wealthy punters needs to be thoroughly scrutinised," he said.

Keith Muir from Wilderness Australia is among those who are concerned privatising a public space could set precedent for other regions to follow suit, encouraging exclusivity in the Aussie bush.

"Everybody should be treated the same in a park. We're all Australians, we come together in a campground and we share things, we share experiences," he told the ABC. "But when you have a sort of 'haves' and 'have-nots' situation, it's just not appropriate for a public park."

The Blue Mountains has the highest visitation of any National Park in the country, receiving approximately four millions visitors every year according to the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise. The landscape spans 11,000 kilometres and offers a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Yahoo News has reached out to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services for comment.

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