The Margaret River Busselton Tourism Authority, MRBTA, is hopeful Mammoth Cave will open before Christmas, subject to safety assessments underway. While there is damage to other infrastructure at the fire-affected site within Leeuwin-Naturaliste NP, authorities considered it ‘non-essential’ and plans to repair it in the coming months.
Earlier this month, fires originating near Mammoth Cave affected more than 5000 hectares in Boranup Forest and Leeuwin-Naturaliste NP, causing devastating losses to wildlife, habitat, age-old forest and damage to the underlying caves.
Early indications find the site at Lake Cave affected by the same event requires more work, with repairs to large sections of the boardwalk and parts of the cave entrance likely to push out the reopening date closer to Easter.
“Firefighters did an incredible job of saving the main buildings at both Mammoth Cave and Lake Cave. We are very grateful for all of their efforts under difficult circumstances,” wrote MRBTA, in a press release issued earlier this week.
SIX-POINT PLAN FOCUSSING ON RECOVERY
In response to the fires, the MRBTA with Shire of Augusta Margaret River, the Undalup Association, the Margaret River Wine Association and Nature Conservation Margaret River Region co-developed a draft six-step plan to fast-track recovery in the affected region.
“We have collectively sought support from the State Government to assist with funding and we can report that our draft concept plans have been well-received,” says Augusta Margaret River Shire President Paula Cristoffanini.
The plan proposes ongoing joint Aboriginal management of the National Park, a rethink of visitor experiences, investment into fire management and financial assistance for businesses directly affected by the fire event.