Gregory River to become a reserve with permitted camping

Gregory River to become a reserve with permitted camping

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CHANGES: Permitted camping along the Gregory River could be enforced if the area become a reserve.

CHANGES: Permitted camping along the Gregory River could be enforced if the area become a reserve.

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Permits could be required to go camping on the Gregory River to minimse the human impact on the popular location.

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Permits could be required to go camping on the Gregory River to minimise the human impact on the popular location.

Burke Shire Council is in discussions with the Department of Environment and Science to turn the area into a reserve and after damage to the riverbed was identified.

CEO Clare Keenan said council were looking to enforce a permit system to limit the number of campers accessing the area.

"Obviously it is the most beautiful part of the world and we still want people to enjoy it but we are looking to limit access," Ms Keenan said.

"The Department advised that even though Council does not own the land, we can be liable for penalities, and by the same token we are allowed to penalise people who are not doing the right thing down there."

Ms Keenan said the decision for allowing camping access to the Gregory, was in the hands of the Department of Environment and Science.

"If the Department say it's a no go zone to be driving any vehicles down there, we will really have to think very carefully about it and go with their decision on this," she said.

"If the Department decides that it is just a place for day camping and not for anything more then a swag down the river, then we will have to go with what they say.

"That area is private property, so I understand people have had access to it but access are through private property, either belonging to cattle stations or council. It's something we need to look at protecting that river."

Council hoped the Department would consider turning it into a reserve so they could enforce limitations on the area.

"That would be the way of making it fair for everyone, so everyone could go there and have a few days," Ms Keenan said.

"We want to put up signs to really educate people about why we are doing this, we are not there to spoil anyone's fun but we do need to protect the environment."

"Currently we are relying on people to do the right thing, so in the first instance it is about education but we do have the authority to fine people, but that is really a last resort."

Ms Keenan said current problems at the Gregory included overcamping, littering and destruction of the environment.

"There has been talk of people cutting down trees so they can part their campers there, is not what we want to see happen," she said.

"There have been people camping for three months in the river and telling other people they can't be down there, which has been the case in a couple of instances.

"Also the destruction of the environment and the impact of tyres driving across that area has damaged it overtime.

"There are alternatives to camping, we have the Gregory Downs Hotel and campsite and we have the free low impact campsite, which is 200 metres from the water."

The story Gregory River to become a reserve with permitted camping first appeared on The North West Star.

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