COVID-19 closures relevant to canyoners

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T2
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COVID-19 closures relevant to canyoners

Post by T2 » 25 Mar 2020, 16:40

As government's introduce tighter restrictions on movement and gatherings to restrict the spread of COVID-19 in the community, outdoor activities are being impacted.

The first closure relevant to canyoners has been announced by Blue Mountains City Council. From midday tomorrow (Thursday 26 March) all campgrounds on council land are closed. This includes Cathedral Reserve at Mt Wilson, along with Blackheath Glen and Old Ford Reserve in the Megalong Valley, and Lockyers Campground at Hartley Vale. Mt York Campground remains closed due to bushfire damage.

I will add posts to this thread as other closures or access restrictions are announced.

Regardless of what the official access situation is, please consider whether any outdoor adventures are appropriate at this current time. Below are some thoughts I shared on social media yesterday:

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to explode globally, many of us have been pondering whether it is still safe to head out on adventures.
The advice from medical experts is that the best thing we can all do as a community to slow the spread of coronavirus is to socially isolate. That means working from home, not going to social gatherings, and avoiding unnecessary travel.
Hard as it is to hear, outdoor adventures fall into that final category.
Not only do you risk spreading the virus (most trips aren't done solo and there is evidence coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces and in water for days), but if you need a rescue you'll be adding to an already strained health system.
Put your adventures on hold. Use the time to sort photos from your old adventures or trawl maps and trip reports for inspiration for future trips when life returns to normal.
Nature will still be there at the end of this, but if we as a community don't do our part, many thousands of people may not.



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T2
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Re: COVID-19 closures relevant to canyoners

Post by T2 » 26 Mar 2020, 20:26

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has temporarily closed all campgrounds, along with "high visitation areas", in response to tighter health directives on social distancing and non-essential travel to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

While it appears to be a reference to formal campgrounds -- including walk in campgrounds -- the wording on the Blue Mountains alerts page seems to prohibit all overnight trips (it says "camping not permitted").

Most walking tracks and trails remain open (those not impacted by prior fire / flooding closures). All roads through national parks also remain open.

People visiting national parks need to observe necessary social distancing with others.

The latest details about the impact of COVID-19 on NSW national parks is available here: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws-covid-19.

Also check the local alerts page for any park or reserve you plan to visit for the specific closure details.

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Re: COVID-19 closures relevant to canyoners

Post by T2 » 26 May 2020, 14:15

From next Monday, July 1, restrictions on regional travel and camping are being lifted by the NSW Government. There will still be some closures in place in National Parks, such as where fires or floods have damaged infrastructure or there are concerns around overcrowding, but the requirement that people only visit local parks for exercise will be removed.

The announcement from the NSW Government states that: "NSW citizens will be able take recreational trips across NSW, as long as they maintain social distancing and good hygiene."

It also states that: "A number of caravan parks and camping grounds will be open from 1 June 2020, but travellers should call ahead and confirm bookings, while travellers planning to visit national parks should check NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for further information."

The National Parks and Wildlife Service COVID-19 alert page states that: "We are working through these changes and conducting risk assessments for reopening accommodation and other visitor services on a case-by-case basis from 1 June to ensure that the resumption of holiday and camping activities can be conducted safely.
"Please note that the ban on camping remains in place at present.
"We remind you that physical distancing is still required for all activities in NSW national parks."


Canyoning often involves being in confined spaces and using communal items such as ropes, so it is important that canyoners undertake additional measures to ensure the activity can be undertaken safely.

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