Damage assessments are starting to be carried out in National Parks and State Forests in North and Central Queensland to ensure the safety of visitors, following the catastrophic floods.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said many parks and forests were still closed for safety reasons and urged visitors to check park alerts before they venture out.
“People may be tempted to seek out a swimming spot, but everyone needs to be informed about entering a national park or state forest especially after significantly weather events,” Ms Enoch said.
“Roads and tracks have been damaged, streams may still be flooded, and conditions in waterways will have changed.
“Walking and biking tracks may have hazards on them, and favourite swimming spots are likely to have new hazards above and below the waterline, as boulders will have shifted and trees will have been washed down.”
Closed or partially closed areas include:
– Bowling Green Bay National Park including Alligator Creek
– Cape Upstart National Park
– Cape Pallarenda and Townsville Town Common conservation parks just north of Townsville
– Dalrymple National Park, north of Charters Towers
– White Mountains National Park, south-west of Charters Towers
– Diamantina National Park, south-west of Winton
– South Johnstone camping area and Misty Mountains road network in Wooroonooran National Park south of Cairns
– Edmund Kennedy and Murray Falls sections of Girramay National Park north-west of Cardwell, and
– All trails in the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park on the Atherton Tableland.
“Go online and check the latest information before you head out,” Ms Enoch said.
Minister Enoch said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers were putting all possible resources into assessment and recovery efforts.
“Rangers are currently assessing damage to roads, tracks, boardwalks and bridges, and are also identifying hazards such as vegetation and other debris on infrastructure, tracks and visitor sites.
“So far, we know landslips at Cape Pallarenda Conservation and Conway National Park have impacted on mountain-biking and walking tracks.”
Ms Enoch said some sites may be closed for weeks, or months, as damage to roads and infrastructure is assessed and repaired.
“As well as checking park alerts, travellers and locals should check road conditions by calling 13 19 40, and weather conditions at www.bom.gov.au.
“Once in a park or forest, visitors need to obey directions from rangers, and observe signage.
“In the wake of the disaster it will take some time to assess all impacted areas, so there may not be warning signs at all locations and I urge everyone to visit the website https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/.
“Remember also that crocodiles and snakes move around in floodwaters and can turn up in places you don’t expect.
“We know how important our parks and forests are to the region’s tourism economy and while we are committed to getting them open as soon as possible, our first priority is people’s safety.”