Each edition, we’ll introduce you to one of the friendly new faces you may see next time you visit Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta.
The number of rangers based at Glenthorne has grown by three as part of the formation of National Parks and Wildlife Service’s new South Metro District.
This new district will service Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta, Marino, Hallett Cove and Moana Sands conservation parks, Onkaparinga River national and recreation parks, and Sturt Gorge and Shepherds Hill recreation parks.
Acting District Ranger Steve Johnson, Acting Senior Ranger Kurtis Madigan and Ranger Tom Prosser will now be based at Glenthorne, bringing the number of rangers to six.
Acting District Ranger Steve Johnson sat down for a quick chat to tell us more about himself and why he’s excited about being part of the new South Metro District.
Q: You’ve worked in SA’s national parks for a while now, can you tell us which parks you’ve worked at in Adelaide’s south?
Of the parks that make up the new South Metro District, I have spent most of my time working in Onkaparinga River national and recreation parks and Moana Sands Conservation Park.
The Onkaparinga River parks conserve amazing natural landscapes and biodiversity, and offer an equally diverse range of recreation opportunities. Moana Sands Conservation Park is rich with indigenous cultural heritage and has undergone outstanding ecological restoration since becoming a park.
Both parks have incredibly dedicated and knowledgeable staff and volunteers working together to conserve, restore and share these wonderful places.
Q: What excites you the most about being based at Glenthorne, being part of the new South Metro District and working on a new national park?
My new team is amazing. They work so hard to care for our parks, the community and each other. They are dedicated to nature conservation, visitor experience and supporting our wonderful volunteers.
I’m very pleased that Onkaparinga River national and recreation parks and Moana Sands Conservation Park form part of the new South Metro District as I have enjoyed the last six years working in these awesome parks.
I’m very excited to work in Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta. It’s already so valuable both environmentally and socially, but over the coming years Glenthorne will develop into a magnificent sanctuary for wildlife and visitors in the southern suburbs.
It’s so exciting to have the opportunity to provide input into the growth and development of such an important park.
Q: What do you think is the biggest opportunity for Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta?
Glenthorne National Park-Ityamaiitpinna Yarta is not only being created to provide incredible opportunities for recreation and conservation, but it will be a central hub for education as well.
The trails, nature play area, visitor facilities, natural and heritage areas and vast expanses of habitat restoration will provide the perfect setting for education.
Given the park’s urban location and close proximity to many great schools, I believe the park will be a focal point for schools wishing to enhance topics such as nature play, conservation, local history and cultural heritage, outdoor education, eco-tourism and much more.
Q: Are you able to share any hidden gems in national parks south of Adelaide?
Given my history and connection to the southern parks of the new district, I’ll share a couple of my favourite places in Onkaparinga River National Park.
Many people don’t know this park has a campground which is the closest place to Adelaide you can stay in a campground run by a national park.
Pink Gum Campground is only a 40 minute drive from Adelaide and is a fantastic place to camp and discover the park and the nearby McLaren Vale region. Pink Gum is a quiet, bush campground with 11 sites. Bookings need to be made online on the National Parks and Wildlife Service website.
Another one of my favourite places in Onkaparinga River National Park is the Punchbowl Lookout. It’s a must-see when visiting the area and is only a 1 km walk or ride from the car park. The trail to the Punchbowl Lookout is also accessible to pram and wheelchair users. The Punchbowl Lookout car park is located at gate 9 on Piggott Range Road in Onkaparinga Hills.
Get to know the other South Metro District rangers Bec Brown, Jae Ellis and Courtney Heinjus.
Keep an eye out in our next edition to get to know Acting Senior Ranger Kurtis Madigan.