The zoning maps were created as an essential element of the Wet Tropics Management Plan 1998.
The Wet Tropics Management Plan, including the zoning is currently under review.
The zoning maps depict four zones (A, B, C & D), based on distance from disturbance model and catering for community services infrastructure and developed visitor facilities. The zones have different degrees of integrity, different physical and social settings and different management purposes. The zoning scheme allows different types of activities in each zone, in accordance with the management intent and integrity of the zone.
Land included in zone A has a high degree of integrity and is remote from the disturbances associated with modern technological society. It is in its natural ecological, physical and aesthetic condition and sustaining this condition is the intent of this zoning. Visitors may expect to find solitude and no obvious management presence. To qualify for inclusion in zone A, land must:
Like land in zone A, it has a high degree of ecological integrity and it is in a natural state but is not necessarily remote from disturbance. There is a reasonable expectation that it could be restored to a condition which would qualify for inclusion in Zone A. Visitors can expect solitude and limited evidence of a management presence (infrastructure, etc.). Lands in zone B must:
Land in zone C already contains disturbances, which are often associated with existing community infrastructure. Visitor facilities may be located in this zone. While there is some disturbance in this zone, the land is in a mostly natural state and will be managed to minimise any adverse impact of these facilities and associated activities, while protecting the integrity of the land.
Cleared areas which are associated with existing use rights have been included in zone C. It is intended that the majority of new and existing infrastructure and facilities will be accommodated in this zone and zone D. Zone C includes areas where there are clearings, roads, powerlines, pipelines, dams and cableways and also includes quarries, gravel scrapes, paddocks, building or home sites, orchards and plantations, forestry camps, parking areas, cane fields, pine plantations, rifle ranges, forestry buildings, ranger stations, research plots, meteorological stations, airstrips, radio towers and army camps.
Zone D contains lands where there are, or may be, visitor facilities of a well developed type. Visitors and visitor facilities will not be confined to this zone, but it is intended that the more intensive, organised visitor activities and associated facilities such as picnic shelters, barbecues, interpretive facilities, paved car parks, etc. would be focused here. Lands in zone D will still be in a mostly natural state. A visitor can expect to enjoy nature here with minimal effort, some comforts and social interaction. The presence of management is likely to be obvious (such as signs and facilities).
It is intended that this zone will provide particular opportunities for presenting the area to visitors and enabling visitors to enjoy and understand what they see. The zone will be managed to minimise any adverse impacts of activities and facilities, and to protect and rehabilitate the land.