Years of advocacy from the Teewah Cooloola Working Group (TCWG) and others, have led to multiple improvements regarding the issues on the North Shore and Teewah. The Cooloola Sustainable Visitor Capacity and Management Study commenced at the end of 2021 aims to clarify the path forward, including on visitor numbers. Below is an update from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services and Partnership (QPWS&P) on this study.
Funding of $200,000 has been provided to QPWS&P to carry out a Sustainable Visitor Capacity (SVC) study for Cooloola Recreation Area and specifically the analysis of the SVC for Teewah, Bribie and K’gari.
Department of Environmental Services (DES) is working to achieve a balance between visitor use, visitor experience and cultural and conservation outcomes for visitors to experience Cooloola in ways that are memorable, safe, and sustainable.
A targeted survey was released for Cooloola over a number of days to previous camping and vehicle access permit holders, local businesses, tourism operators, people who live in the community, First Nations and community organisations such as tourism and recreation groups, universities, environment, wildlife and conservation groups.
The aim of the surveys was to collect past users, community and businesses’ commentary or opinions on visitors to Cooloola, numbers and behaviour, infrastructure, their experience and ideas, and thoughts on management options.
The information requested in the survey is being collected and analysed by a consultant, EarthCheck on behalf of DES. EarthCheck met with Sandy and discussed matters for Cooloola Recreation Area relevant to the study. The consultant also contacted stakeholders directly to discuss.
Surveys were distributed via social media, email, and council community consultation platforms. In addition, we provided support and assistance to those doing letterbox drops in the Moorindal Street area and ensured that those on the ferry were included as well as including in Sandy’s social media network.
Surveys undertaken by the consultant presented a range of management techniques that are used in other National parks to improve public safety whilst managing tourism and achieving economic, cultural and conservation outcomes.
Various management techniques include:
- managing the numbers of people per camping area, or the number of camping areas to reduce overcrowding at peak times
- managing the maximum number of daily vehicle access permits, to reduce overcrowding at peak times/popular sites
- reviewing camping areas, or relocating existing camping areas to disperse visitors more effectively.
The results for the Cooloola area are expected in early 2022 and will be provided to DES to consider in future management options.