Border Track Committee

Border Track image, sand & bush (70kb)

Introduction

In 1991 twentynine kilometres of the Border Track between South Australia and Victoria faced total closure following years of severe degredation by inappropraite 4WD use. 4WDSA undertook a volunteer project to rehabilitate this section of the track. In return, the track would remain open in a ONE WAY NORTH TO SOUTH direction.

Planning to travel the Border Track or camp in Ngarkat? Refer here for advisery links.. Note that the Ngarkat Conservation Park Management Plan stipulates that for public safety, the Border Track will be closed from the 1st of November till the 31st of March each year.

Commitee contacts

Chairman: Darryl McManus (4WD Adventurers Club) :
ddaajmcm@bigpond.net.au    Mob. 0488 275 300 ; Ph.(08) 8281 3394

Peter Harper (Toyota/Gawler and Districts Clubs)
peter_harper@bigpond.com   Mob. 0410 526 317 ; Ph.(08) 8523 0889

Working Bees

Border Track Working Bee - some volunteers, taken August 2016

 

Next Working Bee  - see details futher down this page

 

PDF Report from August 2016 - DEWNR and the 4WDSA Border Track committee continued an upgrade to the ad-hoc nature of Cox’s Windmill campground

Within the Ngarkat CP, Cox’s Windmill campground is about 4km east along the track from the Pine Hut Soak campground to the Border Track intersection. It is directly adjacent to Cox’s Windmill, a relic from the pastoral days of the area. Cox’s Windmill campground has been used for many years as an ad-hoc campground for 4WD enthusiasts who are preparing to traverse the Border Track.

This involved creating a separate entrance and exit to the campground and re-aligning the Pine Hut Soak track just away from the entrance to the campground. This work was completed by heavy equipment sourced by DEWNR with the assistance of other labour prior to this Working Bee.
Remaining to be done in the most recent Working Bee (WB) in August 2016 was setting the boundaries of the campground using fencing in a similar manner to that at the Pine Hut Soak campground along with any residual clearing of vegetation. Fencing materials were funded directly by DEWNR and through grant funding obtained by the 4WDSA Border Track committee... Full working bee report (1.5mb pdf)

PDF Report from June 2016 - A track survey of the central section of the Ngarkat CP was undertaken.

The second Ngarkat CP Track Survey was undertaken as a follow on activity to the September 2015 Ngarkat CP Track Survey which had surveyed tracks (broadly) in the western section of the Ngarkat CP (west of the Baan Hill Track). 

After preliminary planning discussions with DEWNR Lameroo staff it was agreed that a track  survey of the central section of the Ngarkat CP be undertaken on the weekend of the 4th and 5th of June 2016. This central section of the Ngarkat CP is (broadly) located between the Baan Hill Track and the Pinnaroo to Bordertown Road and contains elements of the old McCallum block. It was also agreed that if time and resources allowed during the weekend that issue and anomalies arising from the previous survey would be reviewed or checked... Full survey report (1.6mb pdf)

Next Working Bee

25th and 26th March 2017 – Annual Ngarkat CP Working Bee

WHAT:         Each year a group of volunteers from 4WDSA affiliated clubs meet at the Ngarkat CP to undertake a number of tasks that have been developed in conjunction with the Senior Ranger, Natural Resources (SA Murray-Darling Basin, DEWNR) from Lameroo. These tasks assist DEWNR in maintaining, sustaining and enhancing the Ngarkat CP for all park visitors.

The work to be undertaken will be generally on or near the one way and two way section of the Ngarkat CP Border Track and includes track matting, fencing (repair, replacement or installation), fireplace & rubbish cleanup, signage, vegetation trimming, painting and rubble placement. DEWNR will be providing materials and specialist tools needed for the work and the volunteers will need to provide all the basic hand tools and labor.

The one way section of the Border Track is closed to public traffic from the 1st November to 31st March each year and therefore will be closed to public traffic during the working bee.

WHEN:         Weekend of 25th & 26th March 2017. Work starts at 9am on the Saturday, but you may setup camp on the afternoon or evening of the preceding Friday.

WHERE:        Meet at the Ngarkat CP Pine Hut Soak campsite (S35º 25’ 20” E140º 52’ 46”).
See this map.

Directions:   Heading south from Tailem Bend cross the railway overpass, turn left onto the Mallee Highway; drive through Lameroo, Parilla and past the T-Junction to Bordertown (do not turn at the T-Junction), 5km west of Pinnaroo turn right on to Rosy Pine Lane (Ngarkat Park sign at this point, see RAA map 'Upper South East ref:J2), continue south for approximately 17 km. The Pine Hut Soak campsite is located just inside the Park entrance.


WHAT TO BRING

Camping:     Camper trailers and caravans can be accommodated. The site has one very good long drop toilet but you need to bring everything else (water, food, shelter). Please note that the working bee dates will still be in fire danger season so the "camp fire" will need to be artificial (a gas stove will be OK).

Equipment

Tools            Post hole digging tools, pruners, loppers, bow saw, handsaw, shovel, rake, hand tools, battery powered electric drill with a range of drill sizes and spade bits.
UHF              In car and handheld UHF radios will be useful, Channel 16 will be used initially.
Personal    Working gloves and footwear, drinking water, sun protection (hat, long sleeves, long pants, sun screen).
Bring high visibility vests or clothing and possibly share them with your fellow workers.


CONTACT

Darryl McManus - e-mail ddaajmcm@bigpond.net.au
Mb. 0488 275 300;  Ph.(08) 8281 3394.
Satellite phone: 0424 212 534 for Emergency incoming & outgoing calls during the working bee.

Important Note - let us know in advance:

  • Contact details for your group.

  • When you plan to arrive.

  • The number of people and vehicles in your party.

  • If you can bring a trailer that could be used to transport materials from the campsite.

All welcome!

Whilst enjoying the break from routine you will be able to assist with the ongoing 4WDSA involvement with the Border Track.

For instance, in April 2009, 448 hours of mammoth effort in Ngarkat Conservation Park by 8 4WDSA Clubs resulted in a 1Km section of original track reopened, but tracks were rubbled to assist stabilisation, the chain grader was trialled, steel cable fence was installed using concrete/wood posts, and The Pines campsite was increased in size.

In 2013, a total of 226 volunteer hours were used during the weekend, and included:
a) Barrier Construction 
b) Barrier repair 
c) Rubbling  , and
d) Miscellaneous track management 

All Clubs are welcome to attend these working bees. In prior years we were very pleased to be assisted by representatives from the Victorian Pajero and Landrover clubs. It is hoped that our friends from over the Border together with all South Australian clubs will again come to the working bee each year to be involved in a Project that is very important in preserving our access and enjoyment of this prime piece of Australian Bush.

This maintenance committee is a sub-committee of the Four Wheel Drive South Australia (4WDSA). It reports directly to the Executive of 4WDSA and consists of several representatives from various clubs affiliated with 4WDSA.

The Maintenance Committee was formed in 1994 as a direct result of work being done by 4WDSA affiliated Clubs on the Border Track that runs North - South along the South Australian/Victorian Border within the Ngarkat Conservation Park, just south of Pinnaroo.

The work being done was in response to an agreement between the 4WDSA and the then Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). This agreement was put together during 1991-92, when meetings between interested parties determined that something had to be done to lessen the impact of increased usage of tracks within the Ngarkat group of Parks, in particular, the Border Track. The alternative to doing this work was the closure of this track by DENR. It was also agreed to accept one way travel along a 25km section of the Track, south of the Scorpion Springs turnoff, to lessen the damage being done to the track.

The Ngarkat Conservation Park

The Ngarkat Conservation Park comprises four contiguous reserves totalling approximately 270 000 ha. It however abuts by the Big Desert Wilderness in Victoria of 140 00 ha. This makes the area a significant remnant of the Ninety Mile Desert that once covered 1.5 million hectares. The area is classed as a semi-arid dunefield that has dense Mallee coverage over most of its area. Vegetated East-West dunes cover the area of the Border Track and it is the damage to these as well as areas of clay swales or Bog holes that attract most of the work done by volunteers. Track users often experience difficulty in crossing the dunes and clay swales. Over time, detour tracks have been created around the swales and adjacent to the track crossing the sand dunes.

Restoration of track

Most of the work done to date has been to trim overhanging trees on the track and transfer these trimmings to the finger tracks. They are then laid across the track to deter further use and also to trap sand and seed to slowly revegetate the damaged areas. It has been our policy to maintain the historic through track along the border fence as well as one other sidetrack at the more difficult sand dunes for use when travel is difficult eg. Summertime when the sand is soft.

Some experimental work has been done on stabilising the badly rutted clay swales. To date this is still causing considerable concern, as damage done during the winter time by the few people who revel in digging ever increasingly deep trenches, has caused others to push detour tracks through the adjacent scrub. Several remedies are being contemplated at this time including seasonal detours and/or repairs. It is hoped that in the interim, club members and other responsible four wheel drivers will take possible damage into account when planning winter trips in this area as DENR staff are again considering closure!

Education

The Committee also promotes safe and responsible use of the Track by educating the driving public on the correct way to drive through the park. A well-worded sign erected by DENR at the northern end of the one way section portrays this. This sign suggests speeds, tyre pressures and safe driving attitudes within the park.