Locals are flocking to the Tamar Island Wetlands for recreation, with figures from the Parks and Wildlife Service showing that visitation skyrocketed after coronavirus restrictions started being relaxed in May.
Visitor numbers at the reserve were up 22 per cent in June this year compared to the same month in 2019.
John Duggin, president of the Tamar Island Wetlands Volunteers branch of Wildcare Tasmania, said he enjoyed seeing more people appreciating the wetlands for their beauty.
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“We’ve seen a lot more newcomers come and be more regular walkers there,” he said.
Mr Duggin said an acquaintance of his had seen first-hand the surge in visitor numbers.
“She drove past the Wetlands Centre on the Queen’s Birthday weekend and the parking lot was full and people were parked on the side of the highway,” he said.
“And we kind of frown on that and encourage people to come back another day because of safety reasons.”
Mr Duggin said he was confident the increased visitation wouldn’t have an adverse impact on the reserve.
A Parks and Wildlife Service spokesperson said preliminary data indicated that Tasmanians were keen to return to the state’s parks and reserves following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
“There are localised reports of camping and caravanning resuming quickly after restrictions were eased,” the spokesperson said. “For example, in mid-June camping sites at Narawntapu National Park near Port Sorell were solidly booked.”
“The PWS is continuing to monitor numbers as visitors start to reengage with Tasmania’s parks and reserves.”
Tasmanian National Parks Association president Nick Sawyer said he was hopeful that locals would place further value on the state’s wild places as a result of accessing them more.
“Basically the one thing that protects our national parks is a high degree of public support.
“And you don’t get that without a broad cross-section of members of the public that are visiting them.
Basically the one thing that protects our national parks is a high degree of public support.
Nick Sawyer, Tasmanian National Parks Association president
“Overall it’s a good thing.”
Most national parks and reserves have reopened to the public following closures brought on by the pandemic. However, visitors are urged to continue adhering to physical distancing standards and Public Health regulations.
There are localised reports of camping and caravanning resuming quickly after restrictions were eased. For example, in mid-June camping sites at Narawntapu National Park near Port Sorell were solidly booked.
The PWS is continuing to monitor numbers as visitors start to re-engage with Tasmania’s parks and reserves.
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