A group of enthusiastic locals have come together to help protect and improve Murray Valley National Park in Corowa.
The Murray Valley National Park Affiliate Friends of Corowa volunteer group was created by famed local David Harrison and NPWS ranger Caitlin Headon.
Mr Harrison, an avid birder and outdoor enthusiast, saw the group’s need following concerns about illegal activities in the local park, adjacent to the Corowa Golf Club, including illegal removal of firewood, camping uncontrolled and garbage thrown or left on site.
“From my perspective and from the people I’ve spoken to, the goal is to stop the abuse of what’s going on there,” Mr. Harrison said.
“People should feel safe walking, cycling or visiting the park.
“We have very good examples of official campgrounds near this region, a good example being the Edward River Bridge Campgrounds near Mathoura”
“When you visit a formalized national park, people are really respectful. We would love to see that here in Corowa as well.
Mr Harrison contacted the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in early September with a three-page submission outlining his concerns about the park.
The NPWS said it looks forward to working with the community group. West Branch Ranger, Caitlin Headon traveled to Corowa to meet with members last Thursday, where she listened to ideas raised by members and described what NSW NPWS could offer, including creating an informal management plan in collaboration with the community.
“Illegal activity such as a garbage dump is a problem for all land managers and community groups like this can certainly help us prevent this from happening,” she said.
“When local people respect and appreciate their parks, we can work together to create a better environment for everyone to enjoy.
“We have a plan to formalize the camping areas, improve access to trails and regenerate areas to promote habitat for many species of animals that are found in the park, and community involvement is so important to us, ”Ms. Headon said.
The group members plan to remove the waste from the park as a first step.
“There’s a fair amount of trash out there, including discarded mattresses, chairs and camping gear, and our members are very keen to clean up. It would be good to coordinate our efforts with the NPWS, ”said Mr. Harrison.
Mr Harrison said that by officially registering and working with NSW NPWS, the park could become not only a great tourist facility, but also a vital ecological resource suitable for recreation for the entire community.
“Some of our members are involved in Landcare, the local community garden and Amaranth. It’s great when different community groups come together and come up with ideas on what they would like to see.
“We are developing a new feature of our county and this is a great opportunity for our community to work with an enthusiastic representative of the authority to achieve common goals.”
To learn more about the Friends of Corowa volunteer group, please email [email protected], nsw.gov.au or call (03) 54839100