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Come to Cradle Mountain – Tasmania and see what you see

18 September 2011 No Comment

Trees Cradle Mountain
One of my favourite things about Cradle Mountain is the people.

Not just the wonderful people I work with, or the rest of our fabulously passionate resident Cradle Mountain community, but the visitors, too. The random strangers who become part of your life, albeit for a minuscule while. You just never know who might walk through that door and need your opinion, and you absolutely never know who might offer you theirs!

One comment which always makes me smile is “the trees look like they’ve been planted upside down!” (You’d be surprised at how often we hear this.) This doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you’ve driven to Cradle from the Eastern side of the state. The last 10kms before the Cradle Mountain turn off permanently looks like it has been ravaged by a bushfire.

“Why are all the trees dead?!” perplexed guests ask on a regular basis. This little stretch of road, titled Middlesex Plains, is very puzzling for first-timers, because it is not at all consistent with the rest of the area’s lush, green landscape. The trees genuinely look like they are dead! I always applaud people who are observant and inquisitive enough to wonder about this, because it is my favourite question to answer.

The short answer is this: the area used to be logged for sawlogs and pulpwood. In order to make felling the trees easier, the logging operators would ring-bark the trees so that they would die. A dead tree is easier to fell than a live one! If you really looked closely at these trees though, you would see that they are still very important to the ecology of the area – they are recycled by our local wildlife, particularly native bird species and small mammals.

And then, every now and again, someone makes a comment that causes you to stop and scratch your head…

Like the unimpressed lady that flew at me on check-in with the impressively astute observation that we must let the animals run wild around here, shock horror, because she had rolled her suitcase through a less-than-pleasant substance, and how was she ever going to clean it off completely, and ugh, the smell!

Uh…yes, every now and again we do let our native wildlife out of the Cradle Mountain Zoo, I’m so sorry that we missed that when we were cleaning up! Lucky she didn’t meet the currawongs! (Please refer to my earlier article, “You’re never going to believe this, but…”)

Then there was the architectural genius who suggested via a guest comment card that we build little shelters for our wildlife, possibly filled with hay, grass, and other marsupial friendly delicacies. This came complete with a detailed diagram, including a wallaby enjoying one of the huts. This guest was concerned that the animals would get too cold in winter! A very cute idea, but a little out of touch with our local habitat. Perhaps they could design the aforementioned Cradle Mountain Zoo?!

We are the proud owners of our own ever-changing microcosm, our own little piece of the bigger picture pie. We get all kinds of visitors, and we welcome them with open arms. I would encourage everyone to come and see what you see, not what you planned to see. You might be surprised!

Koby Blizzard is a born and bred Tasmanian who works and lives in the Cradle Mountain area. She loves all things Cradle and Tasmania and is just embarking on a writing career. This is her third piece about her exploits working at Cradle Mountain.

Image – Shane Richards via Flickr

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