On Monday 31 July, I had the pleasure of attending a ceremony in the Blue Mountains National Park to unveil a plaque in memory of National Parks and Wildlife staff who have lost their lives in service to the environment and the people of NSW.
It honours, for example, a number of National Parks firefighters who several years ago were killed during a hazard reduction operation at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
The plaque is at the George Phillips Lookout, Govetts Leap in Blackheath and the unveiling event was part of the 50 year anniversary of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
30 million people each year flock to the state’s National Parks but I think it’s fair to say that most take that magnificent environment and their safety within it for granted.
The reality is the parks are the result of careful and expert management by the experienced staff of the NPWS.
National Parks staff manage a range of incidents including floods, storm events and whale strandings.
However, most importantly, they are also front line fire fighters all over the state protecting lives, private property, forestry, homes, pastures, the lot.
They stand shoulder to shoulder with Fire and Rescue and the Rural Fire Service.
It is dangerous work as is dealing with wild dogs, feral pigs and other vertebrate pests – not your average workplace situation.
The memorial is a fitting tribute to the excellent community service that NPWS staff provide.