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Wilderness protection areas

Wilderness protection in South Australia


Large and unmodified areas of the world that retain their natural character are regarded as wilderness. 

South Australia is blessed with extensive areas that have been used wisely, and managed carefully, by the Aboriginal custodians and others.  Many of these remain in a natural condition and meet the international criteria for classification as wilderness.

In South Australia, 14 wilderness protection areas have been established under the Wilderness Protection Act 1992. This ensures that the ecological integrity of over 1.8 million hectares of wilderness, including the State’s most valuable wilderness, is protected in the long term.  It also guarantees that current and future generations have the opportunity to experience these special places. 

A brochure called Wilderness protection in South Australia explains the significance of wilderness in South Australia and outlines why it must be protected.

The Wilderness Protection Areas and Zones code of management sets out statewide objectives, principles and policies for the management of wilderness.

Management plans set out management objectives and strategies for each wilderness protection area. 

People are welcome to visit wilderness protection areas but should be aware that some activities are not allowed, and that facilities are likely to be minimal or absent.  To help retain wilderness qualities, visitors are encouraged to adopt the Wilderness minimum impact code.

Have your say: Addition to the Cape Torrens Wilderness Protection Area

The Department for Environment and Water is proposing to add an important piece of coastal land to the Cape Torrens Wilderness Protection Area.

Cape Torrens Wilderness Protection Area is located on the north-west coast of Kangaroo Island, approximately 12 kilometres east of Cape Borda. The proposed addition is located adjacent to the north-eastern boundary of the existing park and has an area of 1.9 hectares.

The addition features the mouth of the De Mole River and approximately 270m of the river upstream from this point. It also includes the accompanying beach and the steep slopes of the river valley in this vicinity. The addition is almost totally surrounded by remnant native vegetation. The proposed addition will protect biologically significant assets, including Sugar Gum and Drooping Sheoak Woodlands that provide feeding and nesting habitat for the Glossy Black Cockatoo.

Proclamation of this land will see the majority of the DeMole River and its catchment protected under the Wilderness Protection Act 1992, a very rare opportunity for South Australia. It will conserve and enable integrated management of the coastline and the adjacent intact native vegetation.

The Parks and Wilderness Council’s Wilderness Assessment Report provides further detail on the proposed addition.

Members of the public are invited to submit their views on the proposal up to and including 21 June 2019.

Written comments should be forwarded to Amy Allen, Policy Officer, Protected Areas Unit, Department for Environment and Water, G.P.O. Box 1047, Adelaide, S.A. 5001 or e-mailed to: amy.allen2@sa.gov.au.

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