Preserving Gleniffer for future generations

Bellingen Shire Courier Sun – December 7, 2018

Visitors to Gleniffer will soon be able to discover more about the unique environment and history of the Gleniffer Valley while learning how to preserve the natural beauty so that future generations can also enjoy this wonderful place.

The interpretive signage, to be installed at Earl Preston, Arthur Keough, Angel Gabriel Capararo and Broken Bridge Reserves before Christmas, has been developed by Bellingen Council in line with the recommendations of the Gleniffer Reserves Master Plan to inform, educate and positively influence visitor behaviour.

“Addressing the impacts of visitor behaviour at these highly-valued locations is a key part of the Gleniffer Reserves Master Plan,” said Mayor Dominic King.

“Adopting a ‘National Parks & Wildlife’ approach of positive, welcoming and informative messages, the interpretive signage is a step toward educating Bellingen Shire locals and visitors alike about the precious environment they are in, and encouraging respect for the surroundings and for the Gleniffer residents.”

A QR code on the sign panels will direct users to further online information about the reserves’ natural, cultural and community values. Videos featuring engaging animated characters and graphics reinforce these messages in a friendly and constructive manner.

One video offers suggestions for alternative swimming locations in Bellingen Shire, whilst a ‘top 5 tips’ video gives people brief guidelines for sustainable and responsible behaviour in and around the reserves.

Indigenous culture and language feature prominently on the information panels and video content, including highlights from a vibrant painting by Gumbaynggirr artist Keene Ballangarry and partner Natalie Bateman. Uncle Garry Williams, CEO of Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative, provided extensive consultation and valuable feedback on the content for the signs.

Acknowledgement of the significant community input from the Never Never Catchment Group outlines their outstanding contributions to environmental conservation in the Gleniffer Valley over many decades.

Local historians John Lean and Colin Sutton, along with the Bellinger Valley Historical Society provided fascinating stories and images of the early white settlement of the Gleniffer Valley.

The sign structures, made from local recycled bridge timbers, were designed by Fisher Design & Architecture to complement the natural bush surroundings. The raw, untreated hardwood timbers will be left to weather naturally.

The interpretive signage was made possible by a grant from the NSW government through its Regional Tourism Fund, managed by Destination NSW.