Camping boom putting serious strain on some local infrastructure

Published: June 6, 2024

As the popularity of caravanning and camping continues to soar, the pressure it puts on local infrastructure is also increasing rapidly … and that can cause issues.

In WA’s south west, the local road leading into a popular campsite at Yalgorup National Park is said to be crumbling as it struggles to cope with the sheer volume of traffic heading out to Martins Tank Campground.

The Harvey-Waroona Reporter says that, in order to reach the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) campsite, visitors must travel several kilometres along Preston Beach Road North, ‘a road crumbling into potholes, thick with dust and washed out with sand traps’.

The paper says the Shire of Waroona originally designed the road for the four residents living along it, but peak camping season can see it being used by hundreds of vehicles a day.

A council spokesperson told the Harvey-Waroona Reporter that the shire had tried to get funding from the DBCA and State Government numerous times to upgrade the road, but all of their requests have been declined.

With $900,000 being spent on the campground as part of the 2024-25 State Budget to help the site meet its demand, the shire was apparently hopeful upgrades to the road may be addressed.

However, a DBCA spokesperson told the newspaper the funding would be used to expand the existing campground, which is an important tourism initiative that will benefit visitors and the local economy, but a road upgrade was not included.

The DBCA spokesperson said the department has funded the Shire of Waroona to undertake two additional grades of the road each financial year in recognition of the additional traffic it receives since the introduction of camping at Martins Tank

But a shire spokesperson said with the onslaught of vehicles attending the campsite, the road often becomes deteriorated only a few hours after being re-graded.

And the council rejected the DBCA’s statement that increasing capacity at the campground would prove economically beneficial for the local community.

“There is no local economic benefit from the campers as they are largely self-contained or get their fuel and supplies at Mandurah before coming to Martins Tank,” a shire spokesperson said.

Shire chief executive Mark Goodlet told the Harvey-Waroona Reporter that the DBCA should fund the impacts of the surrounding infrastructure, rather than the ratepayer.

“We know that the corrugated road is a bone shaking problem for the campers, as well as the long suffering very few residents who live at the end of this road,” he said. “When the camping ground was developed the shire was informed that the traffic impact would be minimal … however, this isn’t the case, with over 90% of the traffic going to the camping ground.”

The DCBA website shows Martin’s Tank Campground has 33 unpowered sites of varying surfaces, sizes and layouts. It sits on the shores of Martins Tank Lake.

  • Do you think the state of the roads leading into some national park campgrounds are simply not good enough? Comment below.

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It’s not just into NP’s that’s the problem. Travelling NSW & Qld and the roads in general are atrocious. In fact it cost me $300 to fix a sensor problem that knocked out my ABS, Anti-skid & Cruise Control after hitting a large pothole that I couldn’t swerve to miss thanks to an oncoming truck.

Yeh, i agree hear i am visiting Queensland and i dont think ive seen worse bitumen roads. If they arent wavy they are cracked or holed, and i dont see much being done, even small service roads.

So i cant imagine what the gravel roads are like.

WA has some main Hwy that are bad like Albany and the HWY to Esperance

Last edited 2 days ago by Gary Bushell

What about all the logging & mining trucks ripping up the roads.
The major roads leading to Portland, a major port in Victoria are horrific.

The state of most roads into national parks are left corrugated on purpose to help slow the traffic down
the road into the pinnicals is bitumen all the way as well as the car parks and it has the highest amount of revenue raise compared to other parks that only have day visitors
with all the station property’s that the department is now acquiring and then leasing out for green credits to overseas companies they should be rolling in money
how many rangers actually do you see in these parks not many as they use volunteers in all the popular ones so more money saved for them
So where is all there income going

I think the Governments do have the money but workers are an issue.

When the population is booming, everything else goes boom as well. The infrastructure will never catch up with the increasing demand for more roads, parks, amenities, rangers etc. Did we have any such issues 40 years ago?

I just turn around if the road is that bad.

WA National park camp fees almost doubled last November, & camp hosts are volunteers, so where is the money going? We have only a 2WD motorhome, so the badly corrugated road conditions are a real deterrent to us, 2WD access roads to camps are quickly becoming 4WD only.

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