– SAVE OUR BEACH – BELMONT WETLANDS STATE PARK
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Belmont Wetlands State Park is a great community asset, with significant environmental, historic, and recreational significance. Since 2010, it has been a State Park, operating under the terms of the Belmont Wetlands Final Plan of Management. For many years, the community members have visited the park to enjoy its fishing, surfing, swimming, hiking and wetlands birding in the beauty of its natural environment.
Unfortunately over recent times the Park has become a haven for 4wd vehicles who have been permitted to drive in all areas of the Park, causing untold damage to the dunes and sensitive areas of the Park. Camping has been permitted in all areas of the Park, in particular on the beach front. Toilet facilities for the designated camping have recently been installed. However for beach campers, facilities are few and far between, with campers not wishing to drive to the toilet facilities, but making use of the most available private spot usually in a sensitive dune zone, as evidenced by little white piles of toilet paper.
Many campers do not take their rubbish with them. Some campers light fires on the sand, leaving hot embers after they have left along with broken bottles etc both hazards for other users. There are also reports of 4wd vehicles driving at excessive speed, or out-side the designated drive zones and at all hours endangering the safety of other Park visitors frequently getting bogged or and stranded as a result of their activities.
Some local residents have taken matters into their own hands to clean up after the visitors. Also local volunteers have put in many hours to rehabilitate areas previously damaged by mining and by irresponsible 4wd vehicles. This activity needs to be backed by responsible, active management that enforces the park rules. It is sad that locals need to do this work of clean up and safety to keep the environment in good shape.
Beach camping and 4WD driving outside the designated zones are not permitted under the current Plan of Management, but management of the Park has not adequately taken on the responsibility to stop these activities and other anti-social behaviour.
However, all is not lost. A review of the Plan of Management is about to take place. It is a concern that some of the activities above will be officially permitted if the Plan of Management is amended.
Together we can bring about a safe and well managed Belmont Wetlands State Park.
Please share your views and ensure your voice is heard! Check out the links to the surveys, easy ways to engage your State Member of Parliament, write to the newspaper and more, all in the What you can do section.