Nerriga to Binnari Pass
After the fires 🔗
In late 2019 and early 2020, bushfires burnt through a large fraction of Morton National Park. Parts of the park reopened in July 2020, including the Nerriga and Wog Wog entrances. Simon from the Canberra Explorers Meetup group organised an overnight walk, mainly to locate and possibly ascend Binnari Pass on Quiltys Mountain, but also to check out how the country was responding six months after the fires.
Many Australian plants are adapted to fire, and I was relieved to see that most of the Eucalypts had survived and were sprouting epicormic growth.
A lot of the herbaceous undergrowth, like the grasses and Lomandra longilfolia were already doing well, and the woody understory plants like Hakea, Banksia and Xanthorrhoea were either sprouting from seed or regrowing from lignotubers.
Notably absent though was the dawn chorus. I thought I heard a lyrebird at the campsite before breakfast, but that was about it. We saw a few wombat scats and some burrows which looked like they'd seen some recent traffic, so that's encouraging.
It's going to take a few years for the area to return to its former glory. Let's just hope that we don't have another major fire in the area before the newly germinated understory has a chance to set seed or the ecology of the region may be disrupted for a long time.
Many thanks to Simon for transport, planning and the GPS trace, and thanks to both Simon and Joe for a great walk.