The walk has ended
The Save Kosci walk ended on Saturday 8th December with amazing scenes as around two hundred walkers arrived at Rawsons Pass and headed to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko. Our hired helicopter carrying Channel 7 and the Canberra Times circled the summit several times while we chanted 'It's a Park not a Paddock' and excitedly waved our arms off. The helicopter then took the media on a tour of undamaged and severely-damaged sites in the national park.
To reduce pressure on the alpine vegetation near the summit, we visited the actual summit area in groups and then returned to the paved area at Rawsons Pass, for lunch and a speech. Andrew Cox, CEO of the Invasive Species Council, presented certificates to the five full-distance walkers - Marg Sharp, Alan Laird, Tom Vaughan, Paul Millgate and Donna Powell - and to the walk organiser Linda Groom.
Sympathetic newspaper articles - in the Weekend Australian, in the Guardian of 9th December, and Fairfax newspapers on the 11th December - and an interview on ABC Radio South East, were triggered by the last day of the walk.
The Save Kosci walk achieved many things:
- The 2 weeks of the walk through the electorate of Mr Barilaro indicated that the majority of Monaro voters support Save Kosci's aims. Although there were a few negative comments on social media and from passers-by, the vast majority of reactions were very positive. They ranged from thumbs-up from passing cars to home-made cakes. The promised confrontations and 'you'll be run out of town' comments on some social media sites did not lead to anything.
- The numbers at the protest in Queanbeyan on 22nd November, outside Mr Barilaro's office - nearly 150 of us and just 17 brumby advocates - were further evidence that Save Kosci represents a majority view.
- Media coverage of the walk has been extensive, especially in regional media, thanks to the work of Cynthia Burton. Other excellent coverage from releases issued by our umbrella organisation, Reclaim Kosci, on horses starving from over-population and on the November 8th science conference, ensured that the issue of feral horse damage in KNP has been repeatedly in the news
- We have had a lively presence on Facebook and Twitter, thanks to Terrylea Reynolds and Cynthia Burton
- Because of the walk, we were able to put our case face-to-face to influential people including Penny Sharpe (Deputy Leader of the NSW Labor Party), Mike Kelly (member for the federal seat of Eden-Monaro), Anoulack Chanthivong (member for the state seat of Macquarie Fields), Greg Warren (member for the state seat of Campbelltown), Sally Quinnell (Labor candidate for the state seat of Camden), Ursula Stephens (Labor candidate for the state seat of Goulburn), Bryce Wilson and Peter Marshall (Labor and Greens candidates for the state seat of Monaro), John Castellari (Councillor Snowy-Monaro Regional Council), Pru Goward, member for the state seat of Goulburn, Tim de Mestre (National Party Member and former Chair of Chairs of the Local Land Services Board) and Tara Cheyne (MLA, ACT)
- We were welcomed to country by Indigenous elders Wally Bell (Ngunnawal) and Aunty Deanna (Ngarigo); Uncle Max Harrison (Yuin) attended the start of the walk and we also had supportive contact with the Wingecarribee Aboriginal Community & Cultural Centre.
- We have nearly 1000 signatures on our petition to the state parliament of NSW; a good start towards our aim of 10,000 signatures by end of March 2019.
- The walkers have forged new friendships, and once the blisters heal, will have many happy memories. Many 'quiet bushwalkers' have discovered environmental activism.
Save Kosci will be wound up as an incorporated association in the next couple of months. Reclaim Kosci will continue the campaign.
Work will continue on the Save Kosci petition and registered supporters will be contacted to ask for help in gathering signatures.