Illegal campers given the shove at popular reserve
Illegal campers have outstayed their welcome at Atherton Drive foreshore reserve at Urunga and have been forced to move on...for now.
Illegal camping has long been an issue at the reserve which also houses the Bellinger River Sailing Club but there was no turning a blind eye to the recent influx.
The usually tranquil setting on the picturesque Kalang River has been overrun in recent weeks and anger has been building prompting authorities to act - putting up signs and issuing warnings.
The last of the recent influx rolled out on Tuesday morning much to the delight of locals.
Motorhomes and caravans have taken up residence there blocking access to ramps and picnic tables with some even setting up hoses to run waste water onto the ground and into the river.
The Atherton Drive User Group Facebook group has been documenting the influx with comments reflecting the growing anger at the recurring problem.
"It's making it very hard to launch our dragon boat for training sessions. We have cleaned up the river bank continuously after the rubbish and firepits are left behind. It's disgusting to treat this beautiful area like a dump," posted Beth Spriggs.
"Grey water all over the place and into river. Even reports of dumping toilet waste into the river. It is not a dree camp, it is illegal camping," added Trevor Williams.
The Atherton Drive Master Plan was completed last year after significant community consultation noted that 'unregulated overnight camping' was a growing problem in the precinct.
Management of the reserve can be complicated at times due to its joint management.
The whole Kalang River foreshore reserve area fronting Atherton Drive at Urunga is part of Bellinger Heads State Park. There is a Park Trust and this trust is jointly managed by the NSW Department of Industry - Lands and Water (Crown Lands) and Bellingen Shire Council (Council).