How a love for the Noosa North Shore is destroying it
SURFRIDER Foundation has called for an end to unlimited access to the Noosa North Shore, naming Double Island Point at number two on its Australian list of endangered waves because of overcrowding and public health and environmental concerns.
As thousands of motorists and campers pour into the Cooloola Recreation Area during the Christmas-New Year holiday the Foundation said there were now serious concerns about the future of the wilderness area.
Surfrider Foundation Sunshine Coast's volunteer beach clean ups remove tonnes of rubbish annually from what is meant to be a wilderness area.
Its president Craig Macintyre as national director of the Endangered Waves campaign said the government had to act and soon to finalise, release and implement the Great Sandy Region Draft Management Plan.
He said with the influx of campers, tourists and day users particularly over the peak periods, thousands of people drove the beaches and camped with no regulations or enforcement on camping toilets.
Recommendations from the state government's Department of National Parks, Sport and Recreation and the 2009 Strategic Directions Cooloola Report for the Environmental Protection Agency called for toilets to be made mandatory.
A Department of Environment spokesperson said the draft Great Sandy Area Management Plan was complete but that public consultation had been put on hold during the caretaker period of the last state election.
It was unable to release information about the number of camping and vehicle permits issued during the Christmas holidays or for 2017 until administrative staff return to work next week.
The spokesperson said the Cooloola Coast was a designated recreation area, not classified as pristine wilderness although some ecosystems were maintained in their natural wilderness state.
Mr Macintyre said on the busiest days, the point on both sides of the headland was reminiscent of a busy festival carpark rather than a pristine national park.
"Tonnes of rubbish is left all over the beaches and dunes, in addition to tide after tide of marine debris washing ashore," he said. "There are literally hundreds of makeshift toilets and holes behind the fore-dunes left to rot, and during heavy events, this all flushes out through the beach camp zone and onto the beach.
"The local rangers do an exceptional job but there is a lack of resource and infrastructure to manage these issues."
Teewah resident Lindsay Dines shares the Foundation's concerns saying campers and day trippers accessing the Noosa North Shore have been on some days over the holiday break queued back from the Noosa River hundreds of metres as they waited for the ferry.
He said there was evidence of illegal camping by people without permits something he said some did with impunity because rangers knocked off at 4pm.