Tourism and education
The area of the proposed Murrumbidgee - Ginninderra Gorges National Park has been a recreation destination for the duration of European settlement in the 19th century until the closure of the recreational park in the 1990’s. The attraction of the area is the spectacular waterfalls along Ginninderra Creek and the Murrumbidgee River course through the series of gorges.
At the time of the closure of the Ginninderra Falls recreation park to the public in 2004 it was estimated that about 15 000 to 20 000 visitors travelled to the falls every year. Since that time the population of the ACT and surrounding NSW area has grown well beyond 300 000 persons and is likely to eventually reach 500 000 by 2050. The likely visitor numbers to the proposed Murrumbidgee - Ginninderra Gorges National Park will probably then exceed 50 000 per year.
Darren Roso, Senior Ranger - Murrumbidgee National Parks and Catchments North, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Territory and Municipal Services Directorate "estimate[s] the Ginninderra reserve will get in excess of 200,000 - 300,000 pa but will be highly weather dependant." He noted
"The Murrumbidgee Corridor in the ACT has a total visitation in excess of 1,000,000 people per year. Uriarra East Reserve alone – had 190,000 visitors in 2011 which was a wet year. Pine Island – 125,000 so far this year [Sept 2014]. This figure has been depressed due to technical issues."
In 1907 John Gale, long-time editor of Queanbeyan newspapers, when promoting the attractions of the Queanbeyan area as the site of the Australian capital, indicated “. . . we have a few show places that outrival anything. . . . ” and when describing the Ginninderra Falls - “the magnificent waterfalls. . . They must be seen to be appreciated. They are not difficult of access and are the admiration of all who have visited the locality. ”
The attractions of the gorges and river corridors within the proposed Murrumbidgee - Ginninderra Gorges National Park are self-evident when visiting the area. The park will be an “oasis” within the region. The attractions of the Ginninderra Creek waterfalls and cascades are a delight on a hot summer’s day. The recreational potential for the large lagoons on the Murrumbidgee River are also self-evident.
Tourism and education go hand-in-hand in the area envisaged for the Murrumbidgee - Ginninderra Gorges National Park. Education can be formal or informal. With the diverse ecosystems within the proposed park boundaries and a good network of pathways, formal education tours by qualified rangers are an option. So too are self-guided excursions by visitors, individually or in family groups.