Bush Capital: River reserve bounce back

On the banks of an ancient river, a new community is emerging.

Where once rural enterprises prospered, sheep grazed and a pine forest grew, a place for families to grow has taken roots.

Interwoven into the fabric of this urban oasis are relics from the past. Innate natural and cultural elements that speak of past land use. Influenced by the touch of the human hand, all set against the resilience of nature.

Molonglo River Reserve is the latest jewel in the crown of our incredible conservation estate.

A giant wallaroo kangaroo in Molonglo River Reserve, planted with native grasses and wildflowers. Photo: Andrew Collins

A giant wallaroo kangaroo in Molonglo River Reserve, planted with native grasses and wildflowers. Photo: Andrew Collins

Extending along the Molonglo River from Scrivener Dam to the Murrumbidgee River, more than 1,200 hectares encompasses the bush capital's finest river landscapes.

It's an ecological home to a wide range of native plants and local critters including the endangered Pink-tailed Worm-lizard and Superb Parrot.

Within this reserve a dedicated space that connects people with nature will be set aside.

Planning for this new parkland area is now underway.

With a yet to be declared Ngunnawal name, it will reflect a strong connection to the rich Indigenous cultural landscape.

The proposed park has been positioned with sweeping views of a rather stunning valley, offering ample opportunities to take a gentle walk, to access a meandering river, to wet a fishing line.

Roughly the size of Black Mountain Peninsula at 35 hectares, this innovative nature space is nestled a mere stone throw from Molonglo Valley's new suburbs of Whitlam and Denman Prospect.

With more than 11,000 residents by 2024, this parkland is destined to be a natural cornerstone to a community.

The design principle is one of restoration and rehabilitation given the past land use.

This emphasis is built on enhancing the habitat values of threatened ecological communities.

Based on this premise the parkland will be a focal point for recreational access that has low impact on the environment, and provides a pivot point for people accessing the broader river surroundings.

To take these design principles to the next level, your insights and thoughts are sought. What experiences would you like to have? Be it encouraging children to interact with nature, getting your hands dirty, riding a bike, a horse, or going for run or walk, we want to hear from you.

Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks & Conservation Service