Thirty-nine national parks affected by the flood in Queensland have reopened to prepare for the packed Easter weekend.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said that thousands of families and visitors are expected to attend the four-day holiday after the Palaszczuk Government, rangers, First Nations Corporations, volunteers, and community organizations mobilized to fix damaged tracks and remove debris from recent flooding across the southeast.
“Easter has always been the most popular time of year for camping in our national parks,” Minister Scanlon said.
“We didn’t want families to miss out on the experiences they normally have this time of year, nor did we want local communities and businesses to miss out on the economic injection the long weekend usually provides.”
A study conducted by the University of Queensland found the state’s national parks contribute $2.64 billion in expenditure and provide more than 17,000 jobs.
Before COVID, there were 2.6 million day trips from domestic day trips and 2.4 million overnight outings.
Last year, approximately 4,500 camping permits were issued during the Easter weekend, and this year’s forecast is similarly busy, with a total of 4,000 permits being granted so far.
“That’s why there was a mammoth effort not just by rangers but also by First Nations Corporations, volunteers, and community organizations to get facilities, tracks, mountain bike trails, and water crossings back online, as well as clean tonnes of misplaced debris,” Scanlon said.
Affected parks, mainly on the Sunshine Coast, with sites being completely reopened are Mapleton Fall National Park and the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, and the Amamoor and Conondale National Park campgrounds.
Not only have crews had to undertake massive repairs in often hard-to-get areas, but they’ve also had to carefully inspect every section of track to make sure it’s safe for visitors.
Minister Scanlon encouraged families who haven’t planned their Easter holiday yet, to consider the state’s 551 national and conservation parks.
“Not only do you have some of the most beautiful natural wonders right on your doorstep – every time you visit a national park, you’re supporting local communities getting back up on their feet after floods and COVID,” said Scanlon.
“It’s why the Palaszczuk Government is investing a record $1.4 billion to protect the environment, upgrade and expand our national park network and drive our economic recovery from COVID-19.”
Minister Scanlon said six parks remained closed due to extensive damage.
“Before you head out, make sure you check you have the permits you’ll need, the clothing and equipment you’ll need, and check the status of the areas you’re visiting on the national parks website,” she said.
For more information about Queensland’s national parks, head to: https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/.