Illegal camping and parking at Broken Head is being addressed, says NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSWNPWS), yet resident Alison Drover has told Echonetdaily it’s ‘not good enough’.
Ms Drover said of illegal camping, ‘This has been a known problem for many years, including replacement signs that were discussed two years ago.
‘We are witnessing groups of people heading down to Brays, down a hidden path, and there were trees cut down to check surf. One sign was replaced last year by NPWS, yet it had no information in it regarding fires etc. This is not just the case for Broken Head; the same situation exists for Brunswick Heads with illegal camping, rubbish and areas being used as toilets’.
Echonetdaily asked NPWS if there were plans for a management plan to address illegal camping, including signage and parking compliance – ie paid parking.
A NPWS spokesperson replied, ‘NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is addressing illegal campers and compliance matters in Broken Head Nature Reserve and in all other national parks and nature reserves in the area.
‘We undertake strategic compliance patrols and have been working with Byron Shire Council and the police in joint operations.
‘National Parks Rangers were on duty over the June long weekend, and specifically undertook compliance patrols at Broken Head Nature Reserve.
‘Entry and regulatory signs throughout Broken Head Nature Reserve were updated in 2019. NPWS is also currently working with the Arakwal joint management committees on additional signage in key visitation national parks, including Broken Head Nature Reserve, to provide appropriate cultural messaging about visitors showing respect for our parks’.
Ms Drover said of the NPWS reply: ‘This is the standard, almost copied response, I got from [NPWS management] for the past six years. It is just not good enough. The signage has been promised for years, and now the excuse is COVID-19. Police are so busy, they don’t get out, especially down a damaged road which is about 30 minutes drive.
‘There are no rangers on at night from Council or NPWS. We still can’t get information on rangers hours and resourcing. There is no long term vision for how the Nature Reserve will handle the numbers of visitors’.
‘People are creating their own paths into the Reserve as they illegally park along Seven Mile, and then bush bash in. The result of this is that there is impact on biodiversity and these people use it as a toilet. This also means people don’t consider the signage, ie about the unpatrolled beaches, fire and dogs etc, cliff risks’.
‘It is back to front – Council develops management plans for towns rather than safeguarding our largest drawcard, which is nature’.