The Cape to Cape Track has officially reopened in its 124km entirety after it was impacted by bushfire earlier this year. WA’s Parks and Wildlife Service confirmed the Track was now open again. It comes after one of the most popular sections of the multi-day hike through Boranup Forest was closed in the wake of a bushfire in December.

Welcome news in time for autumn hiking season

Cape to Cape Explorer Tours founder Gene Hardy, who is also deputy chair of the Friends of the Cape to Cape Track group, welcomed the news. “The timing is perfect. Right as our autumn hiking season kicks off,” says Gene. “Only a relatively small section of the forest was burnt. But it’s already coming back strongly. And it’s going to be really interesting hiking through there. However, it’s a sensitive ecosystem at the moment and it’s important we don’t impact the forest’s recovery. So our guides and hikers will certainly be sticking to the Track. And we urge all walkers to do the same.”

Walkers urged to tread carefully as Track reopens after fire

Ben Tannock is the Blackwood District parks and visitor services manager for WA’s Parks and Wildlife Service. He confirmed the Track was “now open in its entirely from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin”.

“Obviously we’re keen for the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park to recover. And the more we can do to lessen the footprint, the better,” he said. “So it’s important people follow the Track.” Ben also said the nature of the limestone rock formations in the area meant there could be caves, holes and other falling hazards if people ventured off the Cape to Cape Track.

New growth shows forest is bouncing back

In more good news, Ben said the section of Boranup Forest impacted by fire is recovering well. “The bush is adapted to fire. And its response can be seen already,” he says.

He also said many of the eucalypt species were showing epicormic growth. That is, new shoots that grow from beneath the bark of a trunk, stem or branch. It’s a common response after fire, when a tree produces new growth to allow it to photosynthesise. “There’s a lot of epicormic buds showing on the eucalypts. And also a lot of colonising species in the shrub layer,” Ben explained.

Vehicle access still limited in the wake of bushfire

While the Cape to Cape Track is open again, the Parks and Wildlife Service stressed Boranup Drive was still closed to vehicles for the time being. That’s due to the risk of falling branches from stressed trees. Boranup Drive is commonly used by day hikers as a vehicle pick-up point.

It means currently there is no vehicle access to pick up hikers between Contos and Hamelin Bay. “Boranup Drive is still closed because we’ve still got some tree mitigation work to do in terms of risk,” Ben says. “However, we’re hoping to have it open very soon.”

The good news is, if you’re hiking with Cape to Cape Explorer Tours, we’ve got your covered. Hikers on both our guided and self-guided adventures will be picked up and dropped off by our drivers. And they’ll  be unaffected by the road closure. So we’ll see you on the Track soon!

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