Free camp litter sparks river health concerns

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Goulburn River, Syemour
Concerns have been expressed about the 'tent city' along the Goulburn River. PIC: Seymour Telegraph

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.

  • Have you camped in this area? Do you think this sort of disrespectful behaviour at free campsites is a widespread problem? Comment below.

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7 Responses to Free camp litter sparks river health concerns

  1. The minority of selfish disrespectful campers is going to lose a free camp for the rest of us who do the right thing. Sad and angry about that

  2. I have hav found this a problem along a lot of rivers and creeks and weirs but a lot of the problem is also caused by local In as car parts and old mattresses broken bottles etc left in a heap and also tried to be burnt. My biggest hate of seeing is old soiled disposable baby nappies. These areas seem to be a gathering place by young people for something to do at night. Please don’t blame us nomads for all the problem. I hate seeing our beautiful spots disappearing

  3. Same behaviours lead to closure and restrictions in State Forest Parks in Qld during the early 90s. Bitterly sad that morons come from every age bracket and region.

  4. When local council tip fees become too high some residents see places like camping areas to be a good alternative. Dont blame the mess on nomads or other campers most are responsible and do take there rubish with them.

  5. It would be very doubtful that grey nomads would be leaving dirty baby nappies wouldn’t you think.

  6. I don’t see the article singling out Grey Nomads in General, Only the people that lead a nomadic lifestyle and make their home in these places for Months at a time, and make the place look more like a slum set up than a camp spot, I personally would not mind if they imposed and strictly enforced an absolute maximum stay of 10-14 days, in all these places that tend to attract the long term homemakers, As it is those people that seem to leave the rubbish and mess, !! It is not the grey nomad retired types that do it, I can honestly say, that last year I done a nearly 6 month half lap of Aus, approx 40% of those nights away was at free camps, seen a lot of Vans come and go, into these camps, and when they drove away from the campsite they were at, there was nothing to show anyone had even parked there, !

  7. Unfortunately, I have come across rubbish at rest areas and other places caused by locals and travelers alike. It saddens me to see our beautiful bushlands being used as a rubbish tip. In most cases it is sheer laziness as there will be rubbish dropped only a matter of a few feet from a bin…

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