Two free camping areas to close due to litter problem

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Lilydale and Copmanhurst free camping
The popular free camping areas are to close.

Another two free camping areas are to close following multiple complaints about the volume of rubbish being left behind at the sites.

It is understood that illegal dumping has also been an issue that has contributed to camping being banned at reserves at Lilydale and Copmanhurst in northern New South Wales.

Clarence Valley councillor Debrah Novak said in a social media post that Crown Lands intended to decommission the camping reserve at Lilydale and Copmanhurst and return it back to a public recreation reserve.

“They have identified they don’t have the available resources to monitor or enforce the compliance matters related to the toilets (no disability access) or the camping,” she said. “The volume of complaints made it very clear the community would not put up with the volume of rubbish or anti-social behaviour being generated on a regular basis.”

It is understood that some individuals and groups have also trespassed onto private property to set up campsites.

The Northern Star reports that, in recent months, residents in the area have discovered several makeshift campsites with high volumes of rubbish left behind.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands said it had no choice but to act

“The department has been made aware of complaints about inappropriate vehicle camping and other anti-social behaviour including littering and rubbish dumping at the reserve,” a Department spokesperson told the Northern Star. “We will work with Clarence Valley Council to undertake compliance action to deal with any unauthorised camping.”

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48 Responses to Two free camping areas to close due to litter problem

  1. It would be a better result if these areas were policed on an irregular basis and fine those that are creating the problem, then by word of mouth it would get around to not leave any trace.

    • I agree these reserves need policing. But also one bag in one bag out and we wouldn’t be in this situation if we all worked together you take 1 bag for others rubbish and one for your own.

    • The article above states that “They have identified they don’t have the available resources to monitor or enforce the compliance matters related to the toilets (no disability access) or the camping,”
      It may be up to us free campers to take photos of people abusing these facilities, the mess, them and registration numbers and submit them to the relevant authorities.

  2. Locals hoons,, ruin it ,for every one ,very sad..

    • Too true. It is often the locals that ruin places
      We live on a rural road a few times a year there will be a deposit of rubbish
      Found one this morning, pillows sheets blanket dumped at the creek crossing. We live in a nice place called Australia
      Why on earth would anyone dump rubbish at a pristine creek crossing
      It is a worry what people are becoming.

      • The “underclass” is increasing so much!! They really are taking over!! Very sad!! Often those dragged up instead of being bought up nicely.

        • It’s hard to catch them. I reckon plenty of unemployed persons could be 20hr a week Enviro Scouts to make a citizens arrest or ON THE SPOT FINE $1000. Every time l speak up l get more abused sworn at & threatened with garden picks. Here in Killarney. Not at all friendly.

          • I agree, it’s the least Job Seeker recipients could to help the community and of course earn the government payment.

  3. Dear Sir, Madam ,with all due respect I take offence to having our group lump in with this mess,we are Grey nomads and I have to say that most nomads I have seen clean up before and after not that we generate much any way,that’s not to say that there are some who don’t care, but from my experience crows who pull rubbish out of bins and locals who don’t take there rubbish home because there bins at home won’t cope ,Any way it’s sad they are closing these camps because they cater for us mobile money machines.

    • Yes, agreed.

    • I agree with comments about crows. Many was the time I saw crows pulling the rubbish out of bins, especially the ones with just a piece of mesh for a lid. The crows just pulled rubbish up thru the open areas of the mesh.

      • It not just the bin rubbish it toilet paper, faeces, broken tent poles/camp chairs, bedding I have even seen bush bike parts
        These camp sites are our favorite spots and with our friends we have enjoyed many a laugh around the camp fires I’m safe by these apparent closures

  4. The article above suggests the problem is more likely related to illegal camping/long stays/trespassing more than gey nomad overnight stays. Shame!

  5. As we always leave a place of camping rubbish free
    We take our bag of rubbish to the bin as we leave or find one along the way
    Why do some, make it so hard for others

    • It’s called the 1%ers. They are the ones that ruin it for the rest of us. In a free camp as I type this there are about 12 vans in and no rubbish..

  6. If the main problem is local residents doing illegal dumping, stopping grey nomads will not solve the problem.

  7. who brought this on,
    caravan park owners?

    • There’s no caravan parks anywhere near those areas as someone else said it’s the bogans that ruin it for everyone

    • Yes Beau I believe you are right.They don’t like free camping anywhere and want to shut it down so caravan park owners get the benefits.The other issue of course is maintenance ,emptying bins and cleaning toilets if available which they don’t want to do

  8. Camping in Au is a qay of life.
    Perhaps a fee of 5 dollars should apply for all parks and a regestration and vechial rego recorded then a fine in the post sent if that site is not cleared of all rubbish.

    • Unfortunately the offenders would only steal the money out of the honesty donation box!

  9. So sorry and sad that there are disrespectful grubs out there who do not respect the environment or the freedom of other campers.

  10. So sad such a special place must be closed by joins behaviour – I always remove rubbish when I go there- alcohol related rubbish and plastic wrappers…

  11. Sad when some spoil it for many, some people have no respect, place a
    Small charge on it or make it a fully self- contained vehicle stop. I know this probably will not stop it but I would have no problems taking photos and supply to you.

  12. I have to agree most grey nomads do not leave any litter. But I have seen a lot of backpackers leave one hell of a mess. I agree if they police it for awhile and fine the offenders the word would certainly get out. Sometimes some free sites are so bad you have to keep driving.

  13. The councils again taking the easy way out. Rather than doing something positive about the issue, they can’t spare enough brain cells to think beyond ‘just close it’. Pathetic time we live in.

    • This is just poor management if they can’t police these great camping spots, Why open them in the first place. The Snowy River is a great example.

  14. I have stayed at Lilydale on a number of occasions and each time I have supported the local communities of Grafton, Copmanhurst and Jackadery spending thousands of dollars and I know fellow travellers have done the same. I understand the issues of rubbish being left and toilet paper laying around these issues concern every traveller, not just at the campsites in the Grafton LGA but Australia wide unfortunately closing these campsites, in my opinion would have a negative effect on the local communities policing these campsites would be benificial to both the local communities and the travelers

  15. I bet it’s not grey nomads but local idiots and they have ruined it for everyone

  16. Help the local economies and stay in campgrounds or NP.

  17. Unfortunately we are all tarred with the same brush. I try my best to clean up other peoples rubbish, in appreciation, that someone has given me a free camp to stay in.
    When I am travelling from A to B, and I only use a free camp to stop for a meal, or to roll up late in the day, and leave early in the morning, I do not clean the camp up. Perhaps I should mend my ways.
    I do not blame the locals, for complaining that travellers leave rubbish

  18. Typical only takes a Group of ppl to wreck it for everyone else selfish much.

  19. Just put up surveillance cameras.

  20. The authority’s make these laws than haven’t the man power to police them. I’ve also discovered where I live people breaking the law for weeks in sign posted areas so no excuse council rangers don’t seem to want to see them till someone complains than they reluctantly turn up to do their job which they are getting paid to do. I’m sick of being labelled as a winger because I report these law breakers so now I don’t give a stuff just like our not so easy to find council rangers.

  21. Another decision by Crown Land to ensure travellers are forced into their own caravan parks “Reflections” as well as those remaining Council Parks and Private.

  22. I have Lived full time in my RV since 2015 and always leave without a trace and have to clean up after irresponsible backpackers or drunken tent dwellers. In Tasmania there are signs that say no camping, motor homes and caravans allowed which seems to weed out the those undesirable scum who spoil our serenity for the respectable RV community who spend a lot of money

  23. We stayed at Lilydale on October 2020 long weekend. We are fairly regular users of this area and have noticed the amount of rubbish and semi permanent camps has increased in past year. On our last visit we witnessed a local group who obviously have been camped there a long time and their behaviour and their rubbish strewn about was appalling. Why are these people not moved on?
    This decision only serves to punish the genuine campers and there Is certainly a lot of Families who use and Do Not Abuse this area.

  24. It’s usually back packers that don’t clean up after there stay, the grey nomads mostly do the right thing and clean up after there stay. If caravan park owner’s drop there prices, they might get campers back into the parks again.

  25. I travelled for 11 months, 2019-2020 and found that many of the free camps were filthy with toilet paper all over place. My husband would go around & collect it with long handled grabbers and place it in the bin.
    It wasn’t very pleasant. Many different walks of life use these facilities and it could be any of them leaving rubbish.

  26. We are currently enjoying camping at Brunswick Heads. On Sunday there was an all day concert in Banner Park which entertained the crowds. I noticed a large gathering of back packers in whizbang bongo vans and assorted poorly maintained vehicles. They were parked and camped in the car park just off south beach road. Some of them were placing various items of rubbish onto an established heap of other items such as broken camping chairs, clothing, empty water containers and general rubbish. On Monday the mini mobile city had gone. However the pile of rubbish was still there, doubled in size. An act of disposing unwanted items at someone else’s expense. Do these people do the same everywhere they camp. How can you prevent this from occurring. It seems it is a common problem with no easy solution. Unfortunately as it has been said that the minority numbers of offenders taints the majority number of conformists.
    Maybe these people can be educated in some way. Sadly it seems the common age of the young people observed is when they are irresponsible human beings. They display impulsive, risky, reckless, irrational anti social behaviour. They have contempt towards rules, regulations and any guidance to encourage social acceptable behaviour. They lack self control and when in a group are more likely to act as above than when on their own. Looks like this could be an ongoing issue. However, continuous berating by fellow travellers if you dare, might in the long term be productive. You would have to step outside your comfort zone. A phrase like “That’s not acceptable” or similar. Only the English speaking would understand.

  27. Grey nomads helped to build this nation and deserve the respect and right to use these areas. They are usually the ones to keep these places clean taking their own and others rubbish away. We are also the ones who spend the money in your area. 99% of people do the right thing and 1% ruin it. Why should we be permanent Aussie “garbage collectors” ? Start policing the area. Everyone has phones with cameras start heavily fining those dumping and reward the picture takers.

  28. Unfortunately, COVID has left a lot of people without any income. All they can do is hop in their car and find a place to park. Unfortunately they have no equipment or means of getting any.

    The councils say they cannot keep the toilets open due to the stringent COVID rules and costs.. This only worsens the problems. Likewise, rubbish bins. They need to be provided and collected in a timely manner. COVID is not an excuse. Councils wake up. We grey nomads have spent a lot of money gearing up and looking after these sites and we shouldn’t be deprived of them. Everyone has extra costs not just councils.

  29. Drifta and several others have bags to clean up the bush as this is becoming more of a problem he suggested in a YouTube video that the local council tip rates maybe a issue with illegal dumping.

  30. Take your shit with you or stay home and throw it in your own space

  31. My 2 dogs and I are staying at the Gum Bend campground in Condobilin and today some locals came out and broke the water taps at the amenities block (no doubt the campers will cop the blame) yesterday it was the toilet roll holders. The campers love the campground and for the most respect it one or two idiots are always about but you get that everywhere the ground at Mandooran has had the toilets closed because some caravaners emptied their toilet cassette into the septic system (the whole town is on septic) and now the whole ground might as well be closed because of some stupid selfish caravaners. Some sort of camera set up is needed and maybe some state funding for them would be useful.

  32. It’s obvious the local community does need us or our money. Their not interested in their own bogan Hons destroying a beautiful area.

  33. It would be sad to see these two beautiful camping spots close.
    It’s always the minority that make it difficult for the majority of people doing the right thing.
    Please reconsider this decision.

  34. “It’s the crows!”
    “It’s the backpackers!”
    “It’s the locals!”
    About time grey nomads take some responsibility for their actions before all these camps get closed.

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