Steep task at Jenolan as the clean-up continues after fires

ARBORISTS and engineers are among those working to get Jenolan Caves reopened after the summer's devastating bushfires.

The main access route to the historic tourist attraction was closed on December 18 and tourist access to the historic precinct has been suspended until further notice.

Four structures were lost in the fires that burned through the area: a vacant staff cottage, the cavers' cottage, cottage 11, described as a building of local heritage significance, and the Jenolan Rural Fire Service shed.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole says Roads and Maritime Services has devoted significant resources to clearing the road with specialist arborists and geotechnical engineers on site every day as they work to make the area safe again.

Mr Toole was given a first-hand look at the clean-up operation when he visited the area earlier this week.

"You really don't realise what a massive job it is to get Jenolan Caves Road re-opened again until you go there and see the devastation the bushfires caused," he said.

"The terrain is so steep. There is damage near the roadway, including a significant number of trees that have fallen or need to be inspected, as well as damage to signs, guard rails and guide posts.

"The biggest risk is falling or unstable trees, slope stability and the damage to the guard rails."

Mr Toole said the first priority has to be ensuring the safety of the community and everyone involved in the recovery efforts to get Jenolan Caves opened again.

"We are working with the team from Jenolan Caves House to support them in getting to the point where visitors can start to return to this iconic tourist attraction," he said.

"At this stage we have no official date when Jenolan Caves will re-open to the public, but we are hoping it will be around early February."

The Jenolan Caves website says all activities at the tourist attraction, including cave tours and bushwalks, remain suspended due to the bushfire damage.

The website says it will be business as usual "when conditions are safe again".