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NPWS dismisses claims of sweeping changes at Sandon

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has labelled recent claims that ‘sweeping changes’ proposed for the Sandon River Camping Area in Yuraygir National Park will see a ‘Big Five Holiday Park’ and require a 1 kilometre walk to access the area have as “nonsense”. Responding to claims on social media and elsewhere, NPWS area manager Andrew Lugg said, with around 50,000 visitors every year the Sandon River camping area is one the most popular camping areas in Yuraygir National Park. “Low key camping at Sandon River is provided for in the plan of management for Yuraygir National Park and there is no intention to change this,” Mr Lugg said. “Currently the toilet block, which has reached the end of its useful life and incurring significant maintenance costs, is being replaced,” he said. “Site levelling, site demarcation, improved vehicle access, revegetation and fencing are some of the associated works planned to improve this popular area. “Additionally the NPWS is also working to resolve risk and liability issues relating to the ongoing private occupancy of huts within the park. “The original permissive occupancies were terminated by the Lands Department in 1983 when this section was added to Yuraygir National Park. “The huts have continued to be privately occupied, without fees, rates or charges applying and without lease or other agreement. “The plan of management for Yuraygir National Park identifies the need to address the management arrangements of the huts and ensure compliance with relevant legislation including health, safety, environmental and building standards. “There are significant legal, liability and public equity matters which need to be addressed including environmental protection, fire and storm risks, hazardous materials, public access and safety. “The NPWS recognises the significance of people’s connections to the area and the desire to maintain an ongoing connection to the Sandon River holiday experience. “The NPWS is consulting directly with all the hut occupiers and is committed to involving key stakeholders, including hut occupiers, in developing a solution to the future management of the huts.”