A VOLUNTEER group tasked with caring for a conservation park in Wilbinga is calling on fellow four-wheel-drive owners to help clean up the 99sq km area.
The Wilbinga Shacks 4×4 Crew is holding its annual clean up of the popular four-wheel driving site on May 27.
The group helps maintain the area under an agreement with the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), aiming to keep it free from litter and illegal dumping, manage the quality of the tracks and discourage antisocial behaviour.
It was established informally by custodians of the four decades-old fishers’ shacks near the beach, which have been passed down through generations, and expanded to include volunteers.
Volunteer Geoff Couper has been enjoying four-wheel driving since he was a teenager.
“I just like the outdoors and enjoying the environment with friends,” the Padbury resident said.
“It’s a really good social activity.”
The tracks provide access to a fishing spot known as The Reef and Flat Rocks Beach, which he said was a great place to spend the day swimming and snorkelling.
The department has worked with the group to install signage in the park directing drivers to the various points of interest, as well as a map overview and rules of use.
When the Times visited with Mr Couper this month, he discovered the sign pole indicating beach access had been knocked over and signage removed.
There was also rubbish, including beer bottles and cans, vehicles dumped since last year’s clean up, remnants of fires and a Moreton Bay fig tree had been half cut down.
Mr Couper said there were other issues with vehicles using an incorrect entry point south of the proper one, not sticking to the tracks and using them irresponsibly, causing degradation.
The volunteers work hard to maintain the area but if the behaviour continued, he was concerned the tracks could be closed.
“Without the Shacks (crew) I really strongly suggest that DPaW would have no choice but to shut it down,” he said.
Gary Gugiatti has been visiting the park since he was a child; his uncle built an original shack in about 1950 that is now buried under sand and another at the existing site in about 1998, which he has used since his uncle’s death.
He said it was frustrating when people left rubbish behind but believed the problems were caused by a minority, with the majority of users acting responsibly.
“I can get a trailer load (of rubbish) just going into camp,” he said.
“It’s not hard to do, you had room to bring it in, you must have room to bring it out.”
Mr Gugiatti urged people to take part in the clean up day to help maintain access to the location.
“It’s there for a reason, to be enjoyed and not messed up,” he said.
“The more you abuse it…they’re going to close it down for everyone.”
The day is being organised by the crew, department and Keep Australia Beautiful and they are hoping for at least 50 vehicles to attend, with trailers desirable.
Bags and gloves will be provided and the department will serve a barbecue afterwards.
Meeting points are on Indian Ocean Drive at Wilbinga Road and north at Wilbinga Grove between 8am and 9am.
For details, visit www.wilbingashackscrew.com.au.