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Storms shut down beach track

FOUR-wheel drive access for campers at the Black Rock camping grounds will not be available any time soon.

The popular camping grounds in the Bundjalung National Park, south of Evans Head, has lost a vehicular route to the beach since big storms eroded the access track.

The situation has worried some regular campers, who say they would be in danger if a fire swept through the park.

Lower Clarence man David Gibson said the Gap Rd, which linked the camping grounds to the Pacific Highway just south of Woodburn, was the only way in and out of the camping area.

He said campers once could get onto the beach, which gave them an escape route if a fire threatened to cut them off from the highway.

Now 4WD access to the beach was impassable, made worse by the National Parks and Wildlife Service dumping rocks there.

The NPWS said the beach access problem would not go away in a hurry.

Richmond River area manager Mark Pittavino said after the storms during the past two year the NPWS had been able to only stabilise the area.

"Coastal recession is between 0.3m and 0.5m a year," Mr Pittavino said. "Ten Mile Beach is being actively eroded by that much.

"With climate change we're looking at similar problems along the coast from Taree to Belongil."

He said the NPWS planned to reopen the access point, but there was a lot of work to be done before that could happen.

Mr Pittavino said NPWS had addressed the fire-safety issues raised by Mr Gibson.

"We have a bushfire management plan endorsed with the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority," he said.

"In an emergency, we can get the choppers in to get people out or, if the worst happens, people can walk down to the beach."

Mr Pittavino said, in an emergency, the NPWS could also open up fire-management trails so campers had alternative routes to the Pacific Highway.

MEANWHILE, cooler weather has given firefighters in the Clarence Valley a chance to get on top of the fires burning in the region.

Rural Fire Service controller Inspector Angela Daly said firefighters were deepening containment lines around two of the most worrying fires at Marara, west of Nymboida, and Little Gundah, near the Gwydir Hwy at the bottom of the range.

Ms Daly said firies had worked hard on the Little Gundah fire on Friday night to ensure the Grafton to Inverell cyclists could get through safely on Saturday.

She said they had also been worried about the fire threatening a few houses, but this had been averted.

She added that weather forecasts were for warmer temperatures later in the week.

Topics:  beach, black rock, camping grounds, four wheel drive access


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