By David Wingate
Every so often a proposal comes forward that is so ludicrous and beyond the realm of logical deduction within the paradigm of society that it is easy to conclude that it must be some sort of April Fool’s joke — or, perhaps more appropriate at this season, a Hallowe’en nightmare. Such is the existing application to the Government by a local entrepreneur to operate “ecotours” in our western parks using all-terrain vehicles.
There are three fundamental reasons why I perceive this to be the case:
1, It would be setting an extremely dangerous precedent given the primary purpose of our Parks and Nature Reserves system as enshrined in the National Parks Act of 1986. The whole purpose of our parks system was to set aside open spaces free of commercial development for the passive recreational enjoyment of locals and tourists in a natural setting. A chance to get away from our rapidly urbanising landscape and our increasingly dangerous and noisy roads.
Some of our parks are already facing a chronic threat of illegal use by motorised “scramble” bikes that tear up the trails, endanger pedestrians, scare away wildlife and create noise pollution. How can our park rangers and police hope to control that if we give legislative approval for even larger and noisier four-wheeled vehicles, which would do even more damage to the trails?