26 September 2023

Ignorant drivers damage cultural sites

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The Department of Environment and Science (DES) wants visitors to Byfield National Park to respect cultural and ecological sites in the area after damage was caused by four-wheel drivers.

Acting Senior Ranger for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), Kim Fleischfresser said rangers inspected a midden at Corio Bay and discovered damage caused by a four-wheel-drive in attempting to scale the dunes.

“There is a culturally significant midden at Corio Bay where the Darumbal First Nations peoples used to gather together and eat shellfish,” Ms Fleischfresser said.

“Four-wheel-drivers illegally accessing the sand dunes have caused damage to the site.”

Ms Fleischfresser said rangers had conducted repairs and were planning further protection works with Darumbal representatives.

“The protection of cultural and spiritual landscapes in Queensland is vital for our First Nations peoples and the QPWS helps to care for culture in Byfield National Park,” she said.

“The vehicles also caused serious damage to dune vegetation, which can create or exacerbate erosion issues by damaging sensitive vegetation that stabilises the dunes.”

The Acting Senior Ranger said four-wheel-drives could also have an impact on marine turtle and shorebirds nesting in the fore-dunes, destroying their eggs.

Mr Fleischfresser warned that rangers conducted regular patrols of the area to educate the public and, if necessary, issue penalty infringement notices.

She said Byfield National Park was home to huge sand dunes, beautiful coastal scenery, rainforest areas, rugged mountains and ancient cycads.

“There are a plenty of activities people can do in the park, including camping, fishing and walking,” Mr Fleischfresser said.

People can also use four-wheel-drives in the park, but their vehicles must be registered and drivers must be licensed,” she said.

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