The popular Swans Crossing camping area west of Kendall will be closed temporarily in July for three months during an adjacent plantation timber harvest.
Forests NSW harvest planning manager for Central Region Brent Bailey said the harvest operation would involve local people working in the area with heavy machinery.
Entry roads to Swans Crossing will be upgraded at the same time.
“The closure is for the safety of the public,” Mr Bailey said.
“This area has a long history of timber harvesting even before the Forestry Commission bought the plantation area from the Swan family in 1958 when it was run as a dairy farm.”
In 1970 a large part of the area was set aside for a hardwood plantation, and it was hand planted with blackbutt.
“The area that makes up the current camping area was identified as a great spot for recreation, as it was close to Kendall and contained a mix of forest types together with a magnificent river well within reach of flat ground - perfect for camping,” Mr Bailey said.
“The trees in the plantation grew and so did the visitor numbers to Swans Crossing, so much so that in 1979, when records of visitor numbers at Swans Crossing were started, the site was hosting up to 22,000 visitors a year.”
The plantation was thinned in 1994 and again in 2004, when it yielded 1500 cubic metres of forest product ranging from high quality structural grade timber used for housing frames to electricity poles and woodchip for the making of paper and other paper products.
“This harvest will produce high quality sawlogs, which will go to Boral’s Herons Creek mill, and electricity poles, many of which will ultimately return to the Mid North Coast.”
The operation is expected to take three months. The plantation area will be cleared of debris, burnt, ripped and mounded in preparation for another cycle of plantation.
“In this rotation Forests NSW will plant an even better stock of blackbutt trees, especially bred for their performance, capable of growing quicker, straighter and stronger,” Mr Bailey said.
“They will store carbon at almost twice the rate of blackbutt in native forest.”
Forests NSW is aiming to reopen the camping area for the spring school holidays.