Increase In Illegal Camping At Gnaraloo
Sadly for the wildlife and heritage values of Gnaraloo, there has been increasing instances of illegal camping and 4WD activities within the dunes and beaches here. This is despite there being adequate camping facilities available at the nearby business of 3 Mile Camp and at the Gnaraloo Homestead area.
Illegal campers are bypassing these facilities as there seems to be a mindset and perception that 'free camping' is now possible due to the Gnaraloo coast no longer being managed by the adjoining pastoralist. Tenure and management of the Gnaraloo coastline changed hands to the State Government in July 2015.
The location of the illegal beach gatherings and the opportunity to camp there are being shared and promoted on social media. This lack of respect shown by illegal campers on the Ningaloo coast at Gnaraloo and the flouting by some of the applicable rules within a World Heritage Listed reserve puts pressure on the fragile location and results in damage to environmental, national, and world heritage values.
If the poor examples being set by illegal campers and some 4WD tourists are not addressed on-the-spot through the timely presence of Government rangers who issue fines to them, and it spreads to others who do the same, the situation could quickly become unmanageable where visitors and vehicles to the Gnaraloo coast can no longer be controlled or responsibly managed to protect the environment.
These activities destroy the paleontological fossils, Aboriginal history and culture buried in Gnaraloo’s dunes, it damages nesting habitat of endangered species, it interrupts the natural activities of shore birds and multiple crab and other species, and it changes critically needed habitat in this spectacular wild area which sustains life.
Are the measures being put by Government into management of the Gnaraloo world heritage listing sufficient to protect this area? Illegal campers need to be picked up more frequently, fined-on-the-spot and moved on before they continue to unwittingly destroy and diminish what is sacred and spiritual ground for many. The rules apply equally and fairly to all, or so it should be, for the sake of wild Gnaraloo, its turtles and all of us, including our children, so that they may enjoy what we were otherwise allowed to destroy.
Stop the illegal activities to protect the unique Gnaraloo coastline!
As the only charity focused on the protection of the Loggerhead turtles, we call on you to help them by doing the right thing on the Gnaraloo coast and staying in designated accommodation areas and on permissible tracks (click on the video below). We also encourage stronger management action to curtail the damaging activities.