Thousands of Queenslanders returned to nature over the long weekend, following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and the reopening of a number of areas in the state’s national parks.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said there was a lot of excitement in the community on Saturday as those popular areas within Queensland’s national parks and forests were reopened to day visitors.
“Rangers across the state said many car parks at our national parks were full, with most visitors observing social distancing rules and only moving in family or household groups.
“The high visitation numbers showed just how much Queenslanders value the health and wellbeing benefits of our magnificent national parks and how much they missed visiting when they were closed.
“I want to remind people that camping is still not permitted, and day visitors must continue to observe the Chief Health Officer’s guidelines, and travel with family or those they live with and only within 50km of their home.
“People should apply common sense and if a car park is full or an area is crowded please go somewhere else.
“The Queensland Police Service and Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers will be monitoring social distancing rules and illegal camping and will take enforcement action where necessary.”
QPWS Compliance Manager Mike Devery said visitor numbers at many parks over the long weekend exceeded the usual visitor numbers.
“This is understandable because Queensland has some of the best national parks in Australia, and although campgrounds and some facilities remain closed, it shows the enthusiasm people have for getting out into these beautiful landscapes,” Mr Devery said.
“Rangers across the state are pleased with the behaviour of people who visited our national parks, with just a few Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) handed out for illegal camping and investigations continuing into alleged instances of fossicking without a permit.
“People are encouraged to visit national parks only where there are available car parks, and if a car park is full then they need to go to another area.
“People still need to follow social distancing measures by staying 1.5m apart and not gathering in groups greater than two, unless from the same household.
“I’d like to remind everyone to check our park alerts page before setting out to their destination. Although the great majority of parks are open, a number of areas are still closed.”
For detailed information regarding the reopening of areas in the state’s national parks, visit https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/covid-19/
Signage will be in place to inform the public of any local requirements to ensure public safety, but locals should check Park Alerts (https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/) for the most up-to-date information about closures.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch