NSW Forestry Corporation has admitted the state office dropped the ball over the blackberry infestation which has engulfed a large portion of the state-owned Mount Topper pine plantation.
State office representatives have promised locals they will being to form a plan to tackle issues of the nationally-declared noxious weed which is a constant problem with seeds spread on neighbouring private land, wild dogs, fencing and the plantation road conditions.
The corporation’s Northern Softwoods regional manager Jason Molkentin and district manager Matthew Pope visited with local residents at the 990 hectare patch on Tingha’s northern edge on April 6.
Mr Molkentin said he made the trip from Bathurst because he understood there was an array of concerns about the state of the plantation.
We were keen to come out here and start forming a relationship first-hand.Jason Molkentin
“We’re a public land manager, and we have neighbours, and it’s in our interest to talk to our neighbours,” he said.
“Personally, I feel very strongly we’re not an island, we can’t work in isolation to the community where we are, and I think it’s basically just good manners to try and develop relationships.
“We’ve obviously fallen down on that in this instance here, and that’s why we were keen to come out here and start forming a relationship first -and.”
Mr Pope said at the last harvest in 2011, crews were pulled out due to the heavy rains and flooding. The fallen timber left behind has formed a framework for the blackberries.
“We intended to come back fairly quickly after to clean up the area,” Mr Pope said.
“So that type of window was never done, but we are coming back to do more harvesting and pick up that area.”
The men gave their cards and contact numbers to the residents, said they would keep in contact, encouraged the two-way dialogue, and proposed biannual progress meetings.
Tingha Citizen’s Association president Colleen Graham said she was pleased by the men’s reaction to the state of the forest, and their concerns.
“They’re listening and they’re prepared to do something,” she said. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen.”
Vicky and Peter Denovan live opposite the plantation where Vicky’s grandfather planted the first test pines in the plot’s infancy, both agreed it was a positive start toward an answer.
“These guys have come back with some realistic solutions,” Peter said. “So I was pretty impressed with the meeting. A very truthful meeting.”