OWNERS of the Batlow-based Gould’s Nursery are happy to report that natural regeneration from the fire-ravished Bago state forest in the south-west region of NSW has been successfully propagated for a new sugar pine planting.

The Sugar Pine Walk was destroyed in the Dunns Road bushfire. The nursery is working with the NSW Forestry Corporation to grow the next generation of sugar pines (Pinus lambertiana).

Nursery owner Jamie Gould said there was a scattering of pine seedlings under a patch of 1930s sugar pine close to the famous Laurel Hill attraction. 

“Forestry Corporation’s Ben Wielinga dropped in one day with a photo of recently germinated seedlings on Central Logging Road,” Mr Gould said. 

“It was only three months since the fire and the seedlings were still coming up and no taller than your index finger,” he said.

“At that stage we were not sure if they would transplant well or even if they were definitely sugar pine.” 

Sugar pine seeds can’t be bought in Australia. The species is threatened in its native North America and biosecurity prevents seed from being imported. Locally, the hefty cones are a favourite food source for cockatoos. 

Forestry Corporation was keen to establish another sugar pine planting as the original had been so popular with locals and tourists. 

Ben Wielinga from Forestry Corporation says the Sugar Pine Walk was an iconic local destination.  

The Goulds were enthusiastic to help create a new Sugar Pine Walk. Jamie and his two children Riley and Rayleigh rescued around 1700 seedlings from the site in March last year in partnership with the Forestry Corporation. 

“It was a family effort over a couple of weekends to collect the seedlings from the under the burnt trees,” he said.

The bulk of the seedlings will be replanted as a replacement to the former Sugar Pine Walk, with 192 also donated to the National Arboretum in Canberra for its botanical collection. 

While planning for the replacement walk is well under way, the former site is still having an impact on the local community. Forestry Corporation donated some of the salvaged sugar pine wood to community groups around the region to support their fundraising activities.