Call out rubbish acts
I'm writing to you to express my anger, disappointment, sadness and to search for answers after reading about the recent closure of the "unofficial" Brogo Dam camping area.
We, like many other South Coast families, have enjoyed this area for many years. We have a photo of our son splashing in the cool waters in front of this camp site when he still needed floaties on his arms to stay afloat. He has driven himself and his mates there for the past 12 months to swim, camp and relax.
We have enjoyed the company of many other families from the South Coast that we had not known until spending a weekend with them. The wildlife has always been as respected as has the green grass we set our swags up on.
To say this was an isolated incident we think is far from the truth. We, like many other campers we have bumped into over the years, have always carried out more rubbish than we brought in, glass and toilet paper being most people’s most hated items. On a recent fishing trip, we pulled the boat up on the sand only to find a car battery, two half burnt camping chairs and a six pack of empty bottles on the ground to greet us. Then there has been the ever decreasing number of trees dividing the one big site from the two other sites. Sure these were "just wattle trees" but to see them hacked off at waist height with a axe is a real shame.
I have been guilty in the past of just looking at the outcomes and not the causes of my favourite areas being closed off or restricted to public use. I have blamed NPWS for having a "heavy handed approach", but now i wonder what choices we as campers, fisher folk and off road enthusiasts are leaving an under resourced and understaffed National Parks. We need to start a culture that calls out these acts and discourages the behaviour that results in these outcomes.
I encourage everyone to think about the options that we face here (and maybe even add to the discussion).
1. Leave it as it is and let nature and "everyone else" deal with it? This has clearly not worked and has angered not only NPWS and NSW Water, BVSC, but also regular visitors and tourism operators on the dam.
2. Create a designated camp ground with pit toilet and designated camping areas, picnic tables and koppers logs everywhere? This is very expensive up front, requires continual maintenance and upkeep and will pull needed funds away from other projects.
3. Install cameras to try to catch the culprits? This also is an expensive exercise both in equipment and people power and really is hit and miss.
4. Place a sign at an intersection and hope that people obey the sign without having the resources to police the rules? Lets face it, this may slow down the numbers of people entering the area but it will still get used.
5. Force all vehicle based campers to use the Upper Brogo Rd camping area. Same issues here but now with a heavier demand.
Or finally, through gritted teeth, lock the area off all together? We all know this has happened to our favourite areas in the past and definitely not an outcome I'm in favour of. I don't know what the answer is, all I know is that there's a lot of history there for many families and it's the sad end of an era. As mentioned at the start of this letter, anger and disappointment has made me put this together, but sadness is the lasting feeling.
Damien Badowski, Calwell, ACT
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