Follow camping rules over the busy summer period

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Cosy Corner Campground is one of many legal campsites filling up this summer.
Camera IconCosy Corner Campground is one of many legal campsites filling up this summer. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

With an influx of visitors to the Great Southern, pullover bays are filling with campers who have missed out on accommodation or campsites.

Having noticed an increase in campers setting up tents in these bays over the festive period, the City of Albany has issued some advice about illegal camping.

City rangers have already responded to several allegations relating to illegal camping over the period. The State’s Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations say a person can only camp at a caravan park or licensed camping ground “unless otherwise stated in the regulations’ extensive exemptions”.

City public health and safety manager Scott Reitsema said thankfully rangers had not come across any active campfires.

“The City is aware of this increase in people using pullover bays to camp, however most of these bays are not designated 24-hour rest stops and are managed by the Commissioner of Main Roads,” he said.

“A number of visitors travel to the Great Southern without pre-booking accommodation and this year, with most places at full occupancy due to the current WA borders forcing West Aussies to holiday in their own backyard, visitors are in competition for local accommodation.”

Mr Reitsema urged travellers to pre-book accommodation to avoid a situation where they could be tempted to camp illegally. “Pre-booking accommodation is a very good idea as illegally camping can pose various risks to public safety and have adverse environmental impacts,” he said.

“Each bay should have signage indicating whether it is in fact a 24-hour rest area and the facilities that are associated with the specific rest bay.

“Travellers are encouraged to check the Main Roads travel map website for all up-to-date information on these particular sites.”

Illegal camping was an issue in Bremer Bay over the festive period, when 6000 people flooded a town with a typical population of less than 500.

Shire of Jerramungup president Robert Lester said the town’s accommodation was at capacity for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“Bremer Bay was fully booked out,” he said.

“But so is Albany, Plantagenet and Denmark.

“People who are normally travelling to Bali and the like are staying home.”

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