Push for camping at unique Mt Scoria

Thangool Inc president Ken Stanley, John Griffiths and vice-president David Bawden hope this latest push to have camping allowed at Mt Scoria is successful.
Thangool Inc president Ken Stanley, John Griffiths and vice-president David Bawden hope this latest push to have camping allowed at Mt Scoria is successful.

JOHN Griffiths thought his fight to have camping allowed at Mt Scoria had been dealt a knock-out blow in 2005.

But a recent push from Banana Shire Council could see Mr Griffiths finally win his battle.

The council wrote to the Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing requesting camping be permitted at Mt Scoria Conservation Park.

Banana Shire manager administration and community services Sandy Pearl said the council agreed to lobby the government after receiving a request through its Tourism Advisory Committee.

Central Telegraph contacted the Minister for a comment, however, all the department said was to confirm the request from council was received and a response was being prepared.

John Griffiths and the Thangool Advancement Sport and Recreation Association had been lobbying Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services since the late '90s to have free camping at Mt Scoria.

Mr Griffiths said in 1998, at a public meeting in Biloela's Civic Centre, everybody who attended, including QPWS, agreed to a plan to upgrade the recreation area at Mt Scoria. This plan included a small grassy area for 24-hour camping.

"However, the Labor government reneged on the offer."

In February 2005, Thangool Advancement Group's request for a camping site was rejected, with the Minister stating camping facilities at Mt Scoria would compete with private camping and accommodation providers in Biloela and Thangool, which could result in a potential loss of earnings for these operators.

John Griffiths said he was hopeful with a change of government the group might have a chance of getting a camping area established.

"It would be great for the town and great for Mt Scoria, but we won't get too excited until we hear what the minister has to say."

Thangool Inc (chamber) president Ken Stanley said having grey nomads and other travellers stay overnight at Mt Scoria would be a boost for the town.

"At the moment there are no free camping sites around Thangool or Biloela, so these types of travellers just drive through town on their way to their next free camping destination," Mr Stanley said.

"If we can get them staying here for short periods, they would be more inclined to purchase goods at stores in Thangool and Biloela.

"Mt Scoria is a unique attraction, and we should be doing everything possible to attract more visitors to it."

Thangool Inc vice-president David Bawden said decades ago, before camping was banned at the base of the mountain, there used to be many popular events held at the conservation park.

He said events held there would mean people would stay the night after the events.

"But since camping was banned and the park's status changed, not as many people visit the site."

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