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How often have you seen a post shared on social media that makes you shake your head in disbelief because some idiot has destroyed a campground performing drunken doughnuts in their 4WD? Without needing to install CCTV at every campsite in Australia, there has to be a better way to keep our tracks and campgrounds open for generations to come. Here are some ways we think might help.
(Image: Respect the land and leave it how you found it...)
Respect the land you travel and take only photos, leave only footprints.
LEAVE YOUR CAMPSITE BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT
Take your rubbish with you and pick up any rubbish you may find already there. It’s little things like this that keep our bush pristine.
(Image: Rubbish left behind- Credit ABC Riverland.)
Volunteer for groups like Outback Cleanups Australia, Clean Up Australia, Phil’s Bush Cleanup, Track Care WA who do call outs via their Facebook pages.
BUSH TOILET ETIQUETTE
Use the toilets if provided but if not, dig a hole at least 30cm deep, then bury the waste having burnt the used toilet paper. Please “do your business” at least 150m from water sources, tracks and campsites and take nappies and sanitary products with you. Here is a handy tutorial video.
STICK TO MARKED TRACKS
Avoid driving off the track or onto protected dunes as you’ll damage trees and plants and possibly harm nesting birds.
(Image: Davies Plain damage caused by rouge 4WDrivers.)
JOIN A 4WD CLUB
Not only will you enjoy great community spirit and regular trips but enjoy heading out to help clean up the bush.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR FIRE
Fires and camping have gone hand in hand since the evolution of the species but there are some things you don’t do:
- Never leave a campfire unattended but extinguish it completely with water
- Obey fire restrictions
- Only collect firewood in specified areas or BYO milled wood
- Use a fuel stove for cooking
- Use designated fireplaces where provided
- If you come across a smoking firepit, put it out using any water you may have or can access.
KEEP WATERBODIES CLEAN
The use of detergent, soap, toothpaste and even sunscreen and insect repellents pollute waterways and can be harmful to aquatic life. Wash your dishes and bathe at least 100m away and apply repellents and sunscreen after you’ve enjoyed a swim.
RESPECT INDIGENOUS CULTURE
Rock art, petroglyphs and other sites are significant to Indigenous people and can easily be damaged. Do not touch rock art or enter sacred land without permission from Traditional Owners.
What do you do if you see someone ripping up a campground, dumping rubbish or driving where they shouldn’t?
- Record the vehicles details, registration numbers and the offender’s description, but don’t approach them for safety’s sake.
- Contact the police by calling 000
- Contact the department that manages the park, ie Parks Victoria