Park management planning
In managing protected areas, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) aims to:
- protect the area's natural condition
- ensure species of conservation significance are protected
- provide facilities for minimal impact and nature-based recreation
- protect parks from overuse
- concentrate human activity in less sensitive areas, and
- help visitors enjoy the park's special attractions.
The Nature Conservation Act 1992 (the Act) requires that a management statement or management plan be prepared for each protected area to guide how the area is managed. The management statement or management plan:
- identifies the park's key natural and cultural values and
- proposes strategies for day-to-day and long-term management to protect those values.
QPWS has moved to a ‘Values Based’ Park Management Framework. We need to understand how the most important values (the key values) on a park are faring and what management effort we need to put into keeping these values healthy. Measurable objectives are set during the planning process and provide the basis on which we evaluate our performance.
We know that every park is important and every park deserves great management, but great management looks different for every park. Not only do we need to manage parks in the context of other parks across the State, but we also need to make difficult decisions about where to invest our management efforts.
Values based park management will result in the better use of planning information to guide the allocation of funds and resources for managing the Parks estate, while taking into consideration park values and management requirements. This approach ensures management effort is aligned with identified priorities, providing a consistent, transparent and cost effective approach to funding park management.
Introducing levels of service
Levels of Service is a park planning tool designed to guide prioritisation and management of all QPWS protected areas based on their values, threats and complexity of management. A safe, minimum ‘acceptable standard’ for park management has been established for all parks and forests in Queensland. Levels of Service allows us to identify and maintain acceptable management standards for each park. We can raise standards if required based on a park’s values, complexity, risks and stakeholder interactions – effectively establishing a specific set of desired management standards for each park.
There are five levels of service, ranging from acceptable up to exceptional that are built around nine areas of park management, such a fire, pest and visitor management. While there are differing Levels of Service an acceptable level of service is still good management.
QPWS produces management statements or plans for all protected areas that provide strategic management direction about the management of key park values. There is a strategic line of sight from management statements and plans to on-the-ground operations.
Management plans and statements will undergo targeted and public consultation. The Act outlines how the community can get involved in the process of developing a management plan:
- The community is invited to comment on the draft management plan.
- Community input must be considered before a final management plan is written and approved.
See further information on consultations and notices.