A section of what’s known as the northern vehicle track at Thompson Beach was closed to vehicle traffic on June 30, providing a little more protection to the Park’s inhabitants – and people too.
The northern vehicle track ran from the end of The Esplanade to Bakers Creek. The general area (Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park – Winaityinaityi Pangkara) is an important resident/migratory shorebird habitat and is home to other fauna and flora.
In recent years a section of the track approximately 350 metres north of the park entrance has been subject to increasing erosion from frequent tidal inundation, creating a safety issue for drivers attempting to cross.
This section, referred to by some as “the crossing”, and the track in general has also been frequented by dirt bikes and irresponsible recreational 4WD/other vehicle activities resulting in damage to the sensitive area and risk to those walking it.
Many vehicles have been bogged, resulting in more damage and debris left behind when retrieved. In some instances, park fencing materials and vegetation have been used in retrieval of bogged vehicles. Some of these bogging events had the potential to cause serious injury to drivers – and those retrieving vehicles.
Vehicles have also gone off-track, damaging vegetation and creating conditions that encourage weed growth. Rubbish has been brought into the area in vehicles and illegally dumped.
Campers have left behind rubbish, faeces and used toilet paper; lit campfires and removed/damaged vegetation for fires. There have been ongoing issues with dogs off leash in the area and at least one reported attack on another dog that was on-leash.
For safety reasons and to begin addressing some of the issues threatening this important area, a decision was made by the Department of Environment & Water (DEW) in consultation with the Thompson Beach Progress Association to physically close off the track between the entrance and the crossing to vehicles.
Fill was delivered to the northern end of The Esplanade on the 11th of June to repair parts of the track.
Rocks for closing the entrance and northern end of the track just south of the crossing were delivered on June 26. On June 30, cover fill was brought in along with earthmoving equipment. On that day the fill was spread, rocks put into place and this section of track was physically closed to traffic both ways.
Through the work, a larger parking and turnaround area has been created at the entrance. Pedestrian traffic is still permitted on the track and a walking trail is under development.
DEW would welcome any feedback from the community on the project so far – bearing in mind it’s a work in progress.