Those hoping to camp at Nine Mile Beach this summer had better think again, with Belmont Wetlands State Park management warning offenders could face a fine of up to $5,500 if they set up anywhere between Redhead and Blacksmiths Beach.
Management has blamed the ban on “unforeseen circumstances” and insisted no camping will be permitted in the park during the 2022 Christmas and New Year Period.
In a statement issued on its website this month, the park management said while day access would still be allowed for those with 4WD permits, overnight stays would not be tolerated.
“We are working with Crown Lands to establish a suitable solution for camping in the future which will ensure guest safety and enjoyment while also preserving the natural environment,” it stated.
“Once a solution is finalised, an announcement will be made on [the] official Belmont Wetlands State Park Facebook page and on the Park’s website.
“We understand this will disappoint many returning visitors.
“In the meantime, permit holders are welcome to visit the park for day visits and enjoy this spectacular natural wonderland.”
What is Belmont Wetlands State Park?
The Belmont Wetlands State Park has approximately 4.5 kilometres of beach front and around 240 hectares of wetlands nestled on the coast at Lake Macquarie near Redhead and Belmont.
It has long been popular with walkers, 4WD vehicles and bird watchers alike.
The land is a reserve owned by the State of NSW and is Crown Land under the Department of Primary Industries.
An annual beach permit that allows unlimited 4wd access to the area costs $88.
In recent years the park has been plagued with controversy, with many groups clashing over the use of the space.
While 4WD owners and campers have enjoyed the space as a holiday park for many years, local conservationists argue the sheer number of vehicles and unpatrolled activities have got “out of hand” over the years.
A group named Save Our Beach has been lobbying to have the rules changed since 2019.
They say problems include sand dunes littered with toilet paper, kids swimming in a contaminated lagoon, rubbish, recklessness and four-wheel drive vehicles stirring up mounds of rehabilitated land day and night.
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