Manjimup Shire president welcomes partial reopening of Pemberton’s Bicentennial Tree after eight-month wait

Oliver LaneManjimup-Bridgetown Times
The 75m Bicentennial Tree will now be climable to the 20m mark.
Camera IconThe 75m Bicentennial Tree will now be climable to the 20m mark. Credit: Tourism WA

Pemberton’s Bicentennial Tree has been partially reopened to the public this week after being closed for almost eight months.

Avid climbers will now be able to make their way up to the 20m platform on the tree, but work remains ongoing to get the canopy section back open.

The announcement was made by acting Environment Minister Tony Buti on Monday, as at least a dozen people made the most of the attraction in just 45 minutes of it being open.

Manjimup Shire president Donelle Buegge said the community had rallied to get the tree reopened.

“It really has been a very loud campaign to open those trees again, which is good, so I think that has gone all the way to Roger Cook and he has understood that this is major for us down here,” she said.

Shire president Donelle Buegge urges residents to embrace Manjimup's shared history.
Camera IconShire president Donelle Buegge said it was a testament to the community to have the tree back open. Credit: Anjelica Smilovitis/Manjimup-Bri/RegionalHUB

“One of the first people to go up was a guy who bolted all the way up and down.”

The Bicentennial and Gloucester Trees had both been closed in November due to safety concerns and ageing infrastructure.

The announcement sparked outcry from businesses, who depend on the tourism pull the natural attractions bring.

Mr Buti said the reopening was an important step for the popular tourism site.

“This successful outcome reinforces the Cook Government’s commitment to enhancing WA tourism, while supporting local businesses,” he said.

“The Bicentennial Tree is a major unique tourism asset and it’s paramount that we continue to invest in our world-class natural attractions.

“The community and industry have been very patient while arborists and engineers have been working behind the scenes and we appreciate the understanding and support during this upgrade process.”

It is understood the Bicentennial Tree will remain partially open until the Gloucester Tree is fully opened, at which point Bicentennial Tree will be closed to complete works on the canopy section.

Warren-Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie said tourism would flourish once the attractions reopened.

“This is exciting news for Western Australians to now get the chance to climb one of the State’s most beloved trees,” she said.

“The Cook Labor Government is delivering significant investment outcomes to the region’s most iconic tourism sights.

“This is the first step towards reopening both the Gloucester and Bicentennial climbing trees, which will benefit our local businesses and community.”

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