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The loop fire road that runs from Nerriga to Sassafras via Quilties Clearing, the Vines, and Newhaven Gap runs through private land near the Endrick River. The owner of the land closest to Nerriga has now locked his gate and placed keep out notices on his fence due to hordes of walkers passing through his land and placing his public liability at risk (not to mention insurance excesses).
As he runs a B&B business on the property (Stones Cottage - formerly Michael Dowling's Hut) and allows camping for a fee, he is even unwilling to allow bushwalking clubs (with insurance) to pass through his land. Another access further north which links up to a footpad on the north side of Quilties Clearing is also blocked by private property.
According to the NPWS, access to the national park must now be gained by walking south for about 100 metres outside the landowner's fence to the Alum Fire Trail, then for about 5 kilometres along this firetrail before turning south and east onto a negotiable route next to Flat Top Mountain and then crossing to the Square Top Mountain Fire Trail.
Leaders proposing to walk in the area should take this new information into account when planning their walks.
(Ettremist - May 2004)