March 17, 2017
The poor behaviour of some campers could be threatening the long-term viability of another popular free camping area.
The mess left by people staying in tents, campervans and caravans along the banks of the Goulburn River near Seymour in Victoria has been raising eyebrows … and concerns.
According to a report in the Seymour Telegraph, the local shire council has received complaints about the un-serviced campsites, which are visible when driving along Northwood Road.
One ratepayer told the newspaper that the litter and sanitary waste from what he described as the ‘tent city’ was potentially polluting the Goulburn River.
‘‘There are foxes breaking into the rubbish that has piled up, spilling it all over the place, and what worries me more is what’s going into the river,” he said. “What’s different now is that people are moving in for long durations … some stay there for months at a time.”
It is likely the camp exploded in popularity when it was listed on free camping information websites. The ratepayer told the Telegraph that many of the campers were not grey nomads.
The land is owned and managed by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). It says that, where formal campsites are not provided, camps are required to be a least 20 metres from any stream, lake or reservoir.
‘‘In areas without toilet facilities, campers are required to bury toilet waste at least 100 metres away from campsites and watercourses,’’ DELWP’s regional land, planning and approvals manager, James Stewart, told the Telegraph.
Despite the complaints, the Department stressed that people using the free campsites were generally mindful of the rules that applied to unreserved Crown land.
By law, no one can stay at one site for longer than 28 days before DELWP staff can ask them to move on.