An alliance of fishers who enjoy the beauty and bounty of Ben Boyd National Park are raising further concerns about plans to redevelop the Light to Light Walk.
Some members of the Green Cape Fishing Alliance have been fishing the area for nearly 50 years and are passionate about protecting the area they affectionately refer to as "The Cape".
Mick Ripon said he and other members of the group believe the draft Light to Light Walking strategy to be "a real threat to national parks and all that they stand for".
The GCFA has prepared an official submission to the National Parks and Wildlife Services regarding the draft proposal.
It includes concerns raised about lack of public consultation before money was allocated, that commercial interests would have detrimental effects on the native habitat and vulnerable ecosystems, and that consultation with the Indigenous community is vital for the draft plan to have any legitimacy.
"I have been fishing Green Cape for 42 years and in that time have landed four Australian National Sportfishing Association (ANSA) records (land-based category) from Green Cape," Mr Ripon said.
"Three of these records are still current, including a 110kg bronze whale shark caught on 24kg line from City Rocks which featured on the cover of the Eden Magnet.
"A few lucky anglers have even caught marlin from the rocks at Green Cape.
"Green Cape is an iconic land-based gamefishing location that is legendary across Australia and the world and it needs protecting. We feel very strongly about this special place
"Our passion for fishing takes us to many wild and remote areas around the world and Green Cape rates as one of the most stunning places that we visit."
Mr Ripon said the GCFA questions why $7.9million of public funding was awarded to NPWS for this particular project without prior public consultation.
"Not even the current Light to Light walking companies or the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council were consulted on this deal," they claimed.
"We oppose the undemocratic and clandestine process to develop this draft Light to Light Walking Strategy. National parks are not playgrounds for the wealthy elite; they are incredibly valuable, natural, national assets that belong to all Australians, both present and future generations.
"Any changes to public reserves and National Parks needs a proper public consultation process with an emphasis on conservation, not commercial enterprise."
Mr Ripon said he understood the survival of national parks required public support and that ecologically sustainable development was "the way of the future".
However, he argued this was already happening in Ben Boyd National Park via the smaller eco-tour already in operation.
"Under the proposed amendments to the Ben Boyd Management Plan, the 'Great Walks approach', including new hardtop luxury camps, helipads and associated infrastructure, needs far more rigorous discussion and debate to ensure the primary function of national parks and nature reserves are not eroded or compromised."
An aspect of the draft strategy the GCFA did support is the upgrading and re-routing of the existing track to reduce environmental impact and avoid heathland.
"The creation of more ocean views would be welcome, provided it is done in an environmentally responsible manner. We also support the upgrading of toilet facilities at Mowarry and Hegarty's Bay.
"The GCFA also supports the use of more on-the-ground rangers to better manage Ben Boyd National Park."
You can read and submit comments on the draft plan of management amendment and the draft strategy by clicking here. Submissions must be received by August 26.
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