With the number of people getting into remote and beautiful areas of Australia growing, so too is their potential to negatively impact the environment they are visiting.
Even seemingly harmless acts like picking up a stick to use as an aid on a bushwalk can become a problem … especially when thousands of other people are doing exactly the same thing.
At Queensland’s Carnarvon National Park, for example, it’s becoming an issue.
Ranger in Charge, Lindie Pasma, said that in April alone, rangers collected 146 walking sticks that had been left at just one exit.
“This is only a small portion of walking sticks being picked up daily by visitors to help them across creek crossings or steep sections of the walk,” she said.
Ms Pasma said that while visitors might think ‘it’s only one stick’, it can have a significant cumulative effect.
“The sticks being removed are habitat for many small critters such as insects, lizards, birds, fungi and moss, and the removal of just one stick can impact these animals in lots of different ways,” she said.
Ms Pasma said visitors should aim to minimise their impact and that specialised hiking poles could be purchased from most camping stores for as little as $30.
“Hiking poles not only reduce the need for hikers to remove sticks from the natural environment, but they are also useful for reducing the impact on walker’s legs, knees and ankles, can be a valuable safety device, and can be used over and over again,” she said.
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