Teewah ‘must’ be off limits to off roaders to survive
Letting four-wheel drivers travel Noosa North Shores beaches is choking the life out of them, according to a Sunshine Coast marine scientist.
Professor Thomas Schlacher is calling for the Noosa and Cooloola stretch of beachfront national parks to cease operating as open roadways.
“We’re supposed to make it heal and yet we basically make the situation worse,” Professor Schlacher said.
“Have we actually ever measured how many other people could use the beach if the cars were not there? It’s like a street.”
He said the State Government and the community needed to ask the land’s traditional owners what they would like to see happen.
“The second element is the larger community has to ask is it really OK to have a national park which is basically pummelled to death?”
Prof Schlacher last year ran an international beach conservation workshop which attracted 30 of the world’s leading experts in the field.
He said they were shocked by a high level of traffic on the stretch
“I took them up to the North Shore and everybody was just stunned, literally people were just quiet, somebody said ‘so what’s going on here’?” he said.
“At the moment everything is open and everything can be completely destroyed.”
He said another major factor related to the mechanics of the park’s management.
“How many people do we want, how many permits? I want to start that debate from the bottom up,” he said.
“It’s actually a paradoxical situation.
“We have a national park that is more destroyed now on the beach and in the dunes.”
He said most other beaches along the coast did not allow general four-wheel-drive access.
“If we said we were going to drive bulldozers over mangroves people would say are you mad?”
“As a beach ecology it’s a basket case.”
The University of the Sunshine Coast academic’s views posted on Facebook have sparked more than 180 comments.
Former South African Dianne Adlam said when four-wheel-drives were banned from one beautiful coastal town over there it totally took away local quality of life.
“We are nature-loving people who knows how to drive and behave and to enjoy the peace and if it happens here in Australia too, it will be a sad day for this country,” Ms Adlam said.
“No way to enjoy it if you cannot respectfully use your four-wheel-drive - those doing the wrong thing should be banned.”
Joy Ringrose said people enjoyed natural beauty long before four-wheel-drives became fashionable.
“Nature is more enjoyable without the sound of internal combustion engines,” she said.
Andy Harler said he drove the beach, surfed the point, camped for the day with his kids and left no trace.
“I’m destroying an entire ecosystem?” he asked.
“I’ve left nothing but tyre marks that wash away overnight and my kids have learnt how to respectfully appreciate nature.
“I’d like to be educated as to how that’s disrespectful to our Indigenous forefathers.”
Sheena Simpson said humans had very little sense at times and often complete disregard for that which was around them.
“I personally think they should stop all vehicles on the beach and dunes. Full stop,” Ms Simpson said.