The Shanes Park Woodland is the most diverse, intact remnant of the grassy woodlands which once covered Sydney's west. Tucked away between the residential subdivisions of Willmot and Shanes Park, this 560 ha woodland patch is home to over 300 species of native wildlife, and has unsurpassed passive recreation & environmental value.
In contrast to the large sandstone forest reserves which characterise Sydney's affluent north and south, almost all of western Sydney's shale woodlands have been cleared, initially for agriculture but increasingly to accommodate the city's explosive population growth. These woodlands are now listed as Critically Endangered.
Shanes Park is rapidly establishing a reputation as one of the best birding sites in the Sydney region, particularly for endangered woodland species. The sites low level of disturbance means that aggressive urban species are rare here, and a visit to Shanes Park offers a unique glimpse of Western Sydney's wildlife as nature intended.
The site is also popular for passive recreation and relaxation, with over 20 km of walking trail winding through habitats ranging from open grassland to woodland, creeks & swamps. Unlike the barren fire trails of other local reserves, Shanes Park is increasingly popular with walkers, birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Shanes Park is presently owned by the Federal Government, who propose to donate the site to the people of NSW as a permanant conservation reserve.
Sadly, this process has been stalled by repeated attempts by the NSW government to accomodate development on the land. The primary development is the proposed Castlereagh Freeway Corridor (M9).
The site is also threatened by the enforced development of surrounding rural lands by the NSW Growth Centres Commission. To date the Commission has refused to provide a suitable buffer between these developments and the future reserve, or retain a corridor to mainain wildlife connections to other bushland areas..
The NSW Government have even suggested the site as the location of future 'active' recreational facilities such as bike trails and kiosks. These uses are not compatable with passive recreation or with wildlife conservation.
Please visit How you can help to support the future of this remarkable part of our local heritage.
Future still uncertain
We understand that an alignment for the proposed M9 highway has been agreed for the south of the reserve. This contravenes the Growth Centres development approval offsets.
We also understand that a religeous organisation has been promised the lease of the heritage buildings in a political deal - even before NPWS own the land!
We will forward any further news on these developments.
Letters to new State and Federal Environment Ministers
We have written to the new NSW Liberal Environment Minister Rob Stokes (letter) and Federal Liberal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt (letter) to honor the requirements to reserve Shanes Park. We will update you with any responses recieved.
3rd Feb 2013
NSW Liberals raise classification
NSW Liberal Environment Minister Robyn Parker has written to the Federal Government requesting removal of the requirement for Regional Park classification, finally opening the way for Shanes Park to become a Nature Reserve. See the Media Release. We continue to wait on a firm committment for Nature Reserve classification.
8th November 2012
Federal Labor stand by promise
The Hon Tony Burke MP, Federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Population & Communities has written to confirm that any clearing for Freeway construction on Shanes Park would be a breach of the Federal transfer conditions. Read Minister Burke's letter.