After 36 days, 790,000 steps and 560 kilometres, five walkers protesting legislation that protects feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park will today reach the summit of Mt Kosciuszko.
The long-distance Save Kosci walkers, who started out from Sydney on Saturday 3 November, have put up with blisters, grazes and bad weather. They will be joined on the summit by about 200 supporters converging on Mt Kosciuszko.
Alan Laird, who trekked the entire 560km distance, loves the Snowy Mountains.
“I’m doing the walk because I love the Snowy Mountains. I have been skiing and walking for over 50 years and it is a tragedy to see the mountains being ruined by feral horses.
“I have been overwhelmed by the level of support for our cause, especially in Monaro, the state electorate of John Barilaro, the man who brought forward the law protecting the horses.
“It’s a silly idea to provide more protection to feral horses in a national park than we provide to our own native species.”
Save Kosci walk organiser Linda Groom cannot stand the thought of Kosciuszko National Park being overrun by feral horses.
“I organised this walk because bad legislation requires a public response. National parks are a national treasure and I want my children and my grandchildren to enjoy them as I have.
“We have to repeal the Kosciuszko Wild Horse Heritage Act and reduce the number of horses in the park.”
About 600 walkers participated in the march and have been supported by almost 60 volunteer marshals, drivers and providers of cakes and other food. Supporters from near and far accompanied the long distance walkers each day.
The original five walkers will complete their trek today by covering the final 11km from Charlotte Pass to Mt Kosciuszko. They will be joined by other walkers linking up with them from Thredbo and other more rugged destinations.
The five – Alan Laird, Paul Millgate, Donna Powell, Marg Sharp and Tom Vaughan – come from all walks of life. Alan is a retired scientist, Paul was a financial manager and Tom is an army veteran.
Reclaim Kosci campaign coordinator Richard Swain says the walkers have shown incredible grit and determination during their five week march.
“The Save Kosci walkers have sent a strong message to the NSW Government – treating our national park like a horse paddock is not acceptable,” he said.
“The campaign to overturn legislation that protects feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park will continue to grow and will become a major issue in the NSW March state election.”
- Linda Groom, Save Kosci convener – 0473 919 441 (connectivity limited by walking).
- Alison Swain, Reclaim Kosci campaign coordinator – 0413 696 095 / 0428 826 938.