New Vic CAMPING REGULATIONs

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 08:06
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New camping regulations are proposed to come into force april this year (Victoria)

The document gives a submission date ending - yesterday , so I replied in a hurry as below , however the DSE website states that we have to 4 march to comment.
Its damm hard keeping up with all the stuff as per my other post on DSE track closures yesterdy.


The link points to two long documents which make for interesting reading if you stick with it.

http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/DSE/nrenfor.nsf/LinkView/1AEBFC0832F294E4CA25763F00128935444A3546C0C6BD394A2569AA00787FA4



My rushed reply --------------------------------------------

Ben Plowman Senior Policy Officer, Forests and Parks Division

I refer below to the general regulations - not specific forest reserves. The proposed regulations still set unrealistic requirements for things like soap use, toilet waste and camp distance from a stream.

I would like to suggest that this is the time to re-consider these and make them more relevant.

The no-soap within 50 meters was in the existing regs anyway and while it looks good on paper, is so impractical that our experience shows that it actually can lessen compliance and disarms those who try to suggest to others to "Not actually use soap in the river".

Everbody would have there shower tent near their campsite whereas the regs would have you camping 20 meters from a river with your shower tent 50m away and any toilet waste area 100m away.

No one is going to do that !
In order to help us help reduce the issues, please consider making the regs have more connection with reality.


Practical Seperations that would gain significant support are as follows.

Camp from a waterway - 10m not 20.
Soap use 10m not 50m
Toilet waste 20m not 100m

Robin Miller
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Reply By: Gramps - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 08:13

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 08:13
Robin,

Thanks for the reading material. Should be able to check it out in April LOL

Regards
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Reply By: pdm3006 - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 09:15

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 09:15
Again great work Robin !
Maybe you and some other Victorian forest users (like myself) need to form a group so that hopefully our joined forces will have a better chance of being heard by the DSE ?
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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 10:29

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 10:29
Robin, I agree with you that no-one is going to do that, and we probably represent the more "responsible and informed' campers. The problem is, that with more and more people out there, do we need to do it? I have no idea what, if any, research is behind these proposals. The Catch 22 (that's showing my age) is that if the research shows it is necessary, we might just be adding fuel to the arguments for closing more areas off, especially in areas that contribute to catchments (and most of them do.)
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:10

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:10
I suspect that one day we may have to go further Mfewster , but we have to be focus aimed today if we are to achieve a result - otherwise we are just going to do a Peter Garret and just leave victims and blame.
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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 10:30

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 10:30
I am sitting here in NSW thinking, when was the last time any government authority in this state genuinely gave Joe Average the opportunity to comment constructively on the use of public resources.

Keep up the good work Robin. I hope the DSE are actually listening.

My experience in NSW is the the National Parks only listen to themselves. I have become aware of a number of "Draft Management Plans" for areas controlled by National Parks only to be told that the opportunity for public comment was closed.

I am aware of areas in the vicinity of Sydney that have been closed to camping with no opportunity for public comment. Areas that I grew up camping in are no longer available because of 'over use'. Yet when I look at them and compare them to photos taken in the 70's I see large areas that have re-vegetated since I used them regularly. When I raised this with the Ranger, who had worked there since 2002 he told me I was wrong and that the area had been significantly degraded since he started working there.

Some criticise me for calling them the Ministry of Gates, but it seems that as soon as NPWS get hold of an area they put up a gate to keep people out.

I hope that the experience of DSE and of those like you who make comment is more positive than mine has been. And I hope that NPWS in NSW is looking and learning.

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:41

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:41
Duncs, isn't that proving their point. If the areas that were closed have now re-vegetated-----------------. Perhaps we could advocate a program where areas are closed on a rotating basis?
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 16:13

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 16:13
Maybe I didn't express that very clearly.

The areas they were talking about had clearly revegetated over a long period of time. They had only just been closed to camping.

The ranger was making the point that recent overuse had lead to the area having been damaged and tgherefore closed to camping. It was when I pointed out the area we used to put our tents in that he told me I was wrong.

No one had ever camped there according to him. This comment despite the fact that he was not a local and confessed to never having been to the park before he got the job there.

Duncs
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Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 10:54

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 10:54
By telling them "No one is going to do that!" gives them even more reason to close off sensitive areas.
We always position our toilet tent a long way from the waters edge, certainly not 100m though, but still quite a distance from the camp.

What worries me with this Government is their obssession to get 'into bed' with the Greens, being that they need their votes, so these sensitive areas may more politically sensitive, than environmentally so.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 19:07

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 19:07
I don't know shaker - I live in hope that common sense will prevai !l
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Reply By: Duncanm - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:20

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:20
Very Interesting reading,

on reading it seems to just relate to state forests defined in the document as

forest reserve means any of the following—
(a) Delatite Arm Reserve;
(b) Murrindindi Scenic Reserve;
(c) Sylvia Falls Scenic Reserve;
(d) Steavenson Falls Scenic Reserve;
(e) You Yangs Regional Park;
(f) Thomson River Forest Reserve; and
(g) Tarago River Forest Reserve.

Also found an interesting document defining state forests see P 12 at the link below Link to resource doc

Duncan
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:03

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:03
Hi Duncan

It is a complex document (s) , with sections that look the same but have tougher regs for some specific areas - but my comments are specifically against regs in the general regs sections , I can understand harder rules for special areas.



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Reply By: HGMonaro - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:29

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:29
I would have thought a 'hole in the ground' loo would be a seperate case from a port-a-loo yet Part 2.8.4 doesn't distinguish between the two.

The next clause (Part 2.8.5) is an interesting one! No more motorbikes or ghetto blasters... yeah!

And, Part 2.8.2 implies you need to clean up other peoples mess!
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:56

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:56
Now Now HG , I have a very quiet trailbike and sometimes I need it so I can ride away from camp and adjacent ghetto blasters and just listen to the silence !
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Follow Up By: HGMonaro - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 16:19

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 16:19
can you carry a pillion passenger on that bike... I might need a dink into the silence!
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Follow Up By: Rob! - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 16:29

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 16:29
I'll need a trail bike to go to the toilet.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 19:14

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 19:14
I like your thinking -->

DSE Expose - the DSE is secretly encouraging campers to take trail bikes where ever they go , to ensure the need they will put Toilets beyond walking distance throughout the bush - to ensure that these facilities are used each toilet will comply with AS-stuffup and have an automatic chinese generator attached which will power a series of light poles back to each designated campsite !

Chinese generators will be used so that campers can follow the sound if hailstones break the light bulbs.
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Reply By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:48

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:48
Robin, when I see the mess that some leave, perhaps they need to be even more harsh. I agree with the sentiments of Shaker above that you are perhaps giving them better reasons for pursuing their line.

I know that some organisations are setting up a "Leave No Trace" register where they can go to heavily trafficked areas and not leave wastes.Kimberley Karavan owners can now buy privately a 'grey water tank' to catch their shower water and sink water. They already have a 20 litre toilet cassette in most cases. The tanks can be ordered through a member of the KKOG and are specially designed to be in the draw bar of the owners KKaravan or even KKamper.

The reason to set up such tanks is because some trafficked areas are being designated only for people that won't dump any wastes. Some governments have already gone further down the track of the Victorian government with what you are highlighting.

There are many people out there who can't seem to understand what it means in not leaving their rubbish and wastes around. They need more than a heavy hand I guess.

The current ordering of tanks has concluded, but shall probably open again in the future. Thanks PeteL for you work on that.
Cheers,
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:01

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:01
My point John was that rules that don't fit within what people will reasonably do actually creates a worse situation.

Its pointless sitting around in an office penning tough rules that get ignored in practise.

That seems to be the Peter Garret defense , sounds good on paper - pity about the dead installers.
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:35

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:35
Robin, the state but more particularly the Victorian government have embarked in a general arse watching round. Pass the parcel to someone else to take a rap for perceived poor performance.

There are municipalities around the state that are having to spend an awful lot of money to ensure that places are designated as 'neighborhood safer places' all unfunded but are the requirements of the state. I know the same is happening with a lot of other quasi-government bodies.

Your naming of the Peter Garrett defence is apt. The government will try to set up an inquiry to place ineptitude on another body's doorstep. The fires of of Black Saturday aren't to be laid at the feet of government, but CFA heads and DSE, but never at the policies that rule how much fuel had been reduced or inept ministers decision making.
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Reply By: Agents son - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:31

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:31
If you move back from the river 100m the toilet waist is no longer the rivers problem its the farmer who owns the land we have just dug a hole in after crossing his fence. 100m seems impossible in most places I have camped in Vic.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 19:06

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 19:06
No arguement Agents - just gotta tell the DSE
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Reply By: Andrew & Jen - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 14:41

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 14:41
Hullo Robin
Thanks for alerting me to this request for comment
I sent the following email to DSE this morning.
Andrew

Dear Sir
I have quickly read the draft proposed regs re use of State Forests.
I do not have any serious issues with most of what has been written with respect to camping.
However, it does seem somewhat impractical and counterproductive to apply the same requirements for the siting of a portable toilet facility that provides for the storage and removal of human waste as those applying to the burial of same in the ground.

Pt2 8 (4) If a person is camping in any State forest or occupying or using a recreation ground in any
State forest and the person has brought in portable toilet facilities, the person must ensure that the
portable toilet facilities are situated more than 100 metres from any alpine bog, dam, bore or waterway.

I would have thought that the use of portable toilets would be encouraged and that their siting adjacent to camp sites >20m from water courses, etc would be a sensible move. Presumably this requirement will not apply to those facilities housed within a vehicle or van!

Regards
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 19:05

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 19:05
Thats what we need Andrew - more people showing their concern.
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Reply By: Member - Timbo - Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 13:32

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010 at 13:32
Robin, while not sure about the restriction on camping within 20m of a watercourse, river, dam, etc. but in my understanding, the others (no soap within 50m, no toilet waste within 100m) were already requirements for camping in National Parks (and recommendations for camping generally).

I'd suggest that the distances are probably deliberately overstated because they probably already concede that not many people are actually going to stick to the requirements - ie. if they say "no toilet waste within 100m" it will often end up more like 20m! If on the other hand the regulations are 20m, it could end up ...?!

I've never known anyone to actually measure the distance (except perhaps the NPWS when installing a long-drop) but I think they're trying to make the point "Don't camp on the banks of the river (which is generally not a good idea anyway if it could be prone to sudden flooding), go a good distance away from the river if using soap, and go further away from the river for your latrine, etc.

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