Camp­ing changes com­ing

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

Tighter re­stric­tions on camp­ing ar­eas along the Mur­ray River will soon ap­ply fol­low­ing the final re­lease of Parks Vic­to­ria’s River Red Gum Parks Man­age­ment Plan.

Some pop­u­lar camp­sites along the Mur­ray River will have a book­ing sys­tem in­tro­duced and oth­ers will have more con­trolled re­stric­tions im­posed.

Lo­cally camp­ing will not be per­mit­ted on the eastern end of the Yar­ra­wonga Com­mon, ad­ja­cent to the pri­vate car­a­van park and at the boat ramp.

Op­tions also to be in­ves­ti­gated on other pop­u­lar camp­ing sites will in­clude de­lin­eat­ing some camp­ing ar­eas, pro­vid­ing a book­ing sys­tem and lim­it­ing camper num­bers and length of stay with the fo­cus ini­tially on the Yar­ra­wonga Com­mon and Forges Beach 1.

The plan also aims to de­lin­eate camp­ing ar­eas on the eastern side of the Ovens River at Paro­las. It will still per­mit dis­persed camp­ing on the west­ern side of the Ovens River.

Jet skis will be banned from all wetlands and water­ways be­tween the Ovens and Mur- ray Rivers con­flu­ence, in­clud­ing Wil­liams Creek and the Wil­liams Bridge area.

Stan­ton’s Bend near Corowa will be one of three camp­sites along the Mur­ray River to be changed to a book­able camp­site.

Parks Vic­to­ria will also look at mak­ing some camp­ing sites more ac­ces­si­ble to RVs.

The plan has also high­lighted con­cerns over campers com­man­deer­ing ar­eas for ex­tended pe­ri­ods, in­clud­ing setting up un­oc­cu­pied camps for days or weeks be­fore peak pe­ri­ods in or­der to ex­clude other campers, which leads to com­plaints about fair­ness of ac­cess.

In some ar­eas such as in the Co­bra­wonga area, itin­er­ant work­ers such as fruit pick­ers or oc­ca­sion­ally homeless peo­ple camp in the parks for ex­tended pe­ri­ods. In some cases, this poses security and safety con­cerns for park vis­i­tors and staff as well as cre­at­ing is­sues for nearby res­i­dents and com­mu­ni­ties.

The fif­teen- year plan sets out a long-term vi­sion for the fu­ture man­age­ment and pro­tec­tion of over 100 parks and re­serves.

Daniel McLaugh­lin, Act­ing Re­gional Di­rec­tor Parks Vic­to­ria said the doc­u­ment con­firms some of the pro­cesses al­ready in place and as­sists in man­ag­ing the parks for the next 15 years.

“The River Red Gum Man­age­ment plan is a broad land­scape based doc­u­ment that sets the goals and strate­gies for di­rect­ing the man­age­ment of the parks and re­serves for at least 15 years,” Mr McLaugh­lin said. “The plan con­firms many of the ac­tiv­i­ties and man­age­ment prac­tices that are al­ready in place across the red gum parks.

“Camp­ing has not been banned within River Red Gum Parks, dis­persed or ‘bush camp­ing’ will con­tinue to be the pre­dom­i­nant form of camp­ing.” Stretch­ing over 215,000 hectares, the plan will col­lec­tively man­age parks along the Mur­ray, Ovens and Goul­burn Rivers.

The plan­ning area in­cludes Aus­tralia’s iconic River Red Gum forests, sev­eral in­ter­na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant wetlands in­clud­ing a di­verse range of flora, fauna and threat­ened species.

Si­mon Tal­bot, Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Parks Vic­to­ria said com­mu­nity feed­back and en­gage­ment were im­por­tant in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the final plan.

“Parks Vic­to­ria has un­der­taken ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity en­gage­ment to in­form fu­ture man­age­ment of Aus­tralia’s iconic River Red Gum forests across the state,” Mr Tal­bot said.

“Com­mu­nity and stake­holder en­gage­ment, in­clud­ing sub­mis­sions from com­mu­nity mem­bers and groups was con­sid­ered in de­vel­op­ing the final plan.

“Com­mu­nity feed­back, dur­ing the plan’s con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod high­lighted demand for more eq­ui­table ac­cess to pop­u­lar camp­sites dur­ing busy pe­ri­ods,” Mr McLaugh­lin added.

“In re­sponse to this, the plan rec­om­mends ad­di­tional fa­cil­i­ties such as toi­lets and a book­ing sys­tem for three very pop­u­lar sites. The iden­ti­fied sites are: Wills Bend, Far­ley Bend and Stan­ton Bend. There are also highly sig­nif­i­cant Abo­rig­i­nal sites, post-set­tle­ment her­itage sites and ge­o­log­i­cal sites within the plan­ning area.

“The plan recog­nises Tra­di­tional Own­ers within the land­scape, the en­dur­ing cul­tural con­nec­tion and rich her­itage they em­body.

“The unique nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment of these parks and re­serves will be con­served, man­aged adap­tively and pro­gres­sively en­hanced to sus­tain the nat­u­ral sys­tems and species,” Mr Tal­bot said.

The final River Red Gum Man­age­ment Plan en­sures pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties like dis­persed camp­ing, fish­ing, boat­ing and hunt­ing con­tinue to be sup­ported.

The plan also sup­ports the de­vel­op­ment of new recre­ational ini­tia­tives that sup­port re­gional economies such as; book­able camp- sites, the Mur­ray River Ad­ven­ture Trail and the Lower Ovens ca­noe trail.

The plan ad­di­tion­ally iden­ti­fies pri­or­i­ties to im­prove ecosystem health and habitat con­nec­tiv­ity, sup­ports en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter­ing to im­prove nat­u­ral pro­cesses, re­duce graz­ing pres­sure and pre­da­tion, re­duce aquatic pests and re­duce weed in­va­sion and im­pacts.

“As with all new ini­tia­tives, be­fore this is im­ple­mented, the nor­mal process will be con­ducted, which in­cludes, but is not limited to, de­vel­op­ing the con­cept, com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion and final im­ple­men­ta­tion,” Mr McLough­lin said.

“These ini­tia­tives, along with all new ini­tia­tives iden­ti­fied within the plan will be in­ves­ti­gated and rolled out dur­ing the 15 year pe­riod the plan will be in place for.”

The plan can be viewed at www.parks.vic.­plan.

Op­tions to be in­ves­ti­gated in the plan will in­clude de­lin­eat­ing camp­ing ar­eas, pro­vid­ing a book­ing sys­tem and lim­it­ing camper num­bers and length of stay at Yar­ra­wonga Com­mon and Forges Beach 1.

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