The Northern Territory has a proud history of protecting its unique and special places. In 1889, Indian Island was the very first protected area to be declared within the Northern Territory. In 1924 Cobourg, now known as Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, was the first National Park in the Territory to be declared.
These days the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Service manages over 85 protected areas on behalf of the Northern Territory Government. This includes National Parks, Nature Parks, Reserves (Historic, Conservation, Coastal, Hunting), Conservation Areas and Recreation Areas.
Management Plans and Strategies
The Parks and Wildlife Service produce a range of management documents which provide direction on the protection of our park values. Management plans and strategies detail the objectives, goals and procedures for managing Parks over 1, 5 or 10 year timeframes.
Park plans and strategies include:
- Plans of Management
- Joint Management Plans
- Statements of Management Intent
- Tourism Development Plans
- Five-year Strategies (fire, feral animals, weeds)
- Annual Operational (Action) Plans
- Flood Plans
- Park Interpretation Plans
- Site Development Plans
- Management Strategies (e.g. Larapinta Trail, Jatbula Trail)
Parks and Reserves provide visitors with opportunities to enjoy the landscape and wildlife while learning about Park values. Involving the community in making management decisions for our Parks is considered vitally important.
There are different forums for community involvement in Parks. Informal committees have been established for a number of Parks and Reserves across the Northern Territory including:
- Howard Springs Nature Park Local Management Committee
- Litchfield National Park Stakeholder Reference Group
- Casuarina Coastal Reserve Advisory Committee
Boards of Management
Joint Management has been occurring on some Northern Territory Parks for many years. Management decisions are made through a Board of Management or Local Management Committee, with representatives from the Parks and Wildlife Service and the Indigenous Traditional Owners as members on the Board or Committee.
Nitmiluk and Garig Gunak Barlu (Cobourg Peninsula Sanctuary) each have a Board of Management, while Djukbinj, Barranyi and Tnorala have Local Management Committees guided by legislation.
Joint Management Committees
Since 2005, 27 Parks have come under the Parks and Reserves (Framework for the Future) Act which sets out principles and objectives for joint management with Indigenous Traditional Owners. In 2012, 11 Parks have or are in the process of setting up Joint Management Committees.
Members of Joint Management Committees include Traditional Owners and Parks and Wildlife staff. The Committees provide a means for the partners to make decisions together on management of their Park. Meetings are generally held at least once per year and Land Council Joint Management Officers are in attendance to consult with the Traditional Owners and provide support
Involvement in Parks is encouraged wherever there is an interest in the community which is supportive of the ongoing protection of Park values.