Simpson Desert and remote tracks closed to keep visitors safe over summer

News article |

The Simpson Desert and four Public Access Routes (PARs) located in the State’s outback will be closed over the hottest months of the year to ensure the safety of visitors and emergency personnel.

Posted 26 November 2014.

The closures will apply from Sunday 30 November 2014 to Sunday 15 March 2015 and affect the Simpson Desert Conservation Park and Regional Reserve, Perdirka (PAR No. 18). Halligan Bay (PAR No. 13), K1 Warburton Crossing (PAR No. 15) and Walkers Crossing (PAR No.16).

Natural Resources SA Arid Lands Acting Community Engagement and Public Lands Manager Tony Magor said it was necessary to close the areas during summer to prevent potential life threatening situations from arising.

‘We can’t assume that everyone is fully aware of the possible dangers that they put themselves in when travelling in remote outback areas and along isolated tracks,’ he said.

‘Some international visitors particularly, are not equipped with the levels of experience required to make these crossings in extreme conditions, with daytime temperatures routinely between 40 and 50 degrees Celcius during the summer.

High temperatures can also lead to an increased chance of vehicle failure and a vehicle that is under-prepared with little or no communications and recovery gear is a recipe for disaster.’

Mr Magor also said the high risk extended to emergency personnel call to help stranded visitors during this period.

Information signs have been strategically placed at the Park to inform visitors of the Simpson Desert closure and the four PARs will have the access gates signed and closed. All regional communities and Visitor Information Centres have been informed of the closure.

‘This closure won’t have a significant impact on local businesses, as in the past, less than 35 vehicles would traverse the Simpson Desert during summer’, Mr Magor said.

Whilst the Simpson Desert Conservation Park and Regional Reserve has routinely closed over summer for the past six years, this is the third year the Pastoral Board have followed suit and closed the selected PARs.

Geoff Mills, presiding Member of the Pastoral Board, says it is a logical decision to support visitor safety in the region.

‘We want visitors to explore and enjoy our magnificent outback in safety and closing these routes to reduce visitor risk during what can be extremely hot weather, sends a clear message about how potentially dangerous these places can be, ‘ he said.

The 43 kilometre Perdirka route (PAR No. 8), starts at the terminus of the existing public road at Hamilton Station and is often used as route to access Dalhousie Springs and Purni Bore in the Witjira National Park.

The Halligan Bay route (PAR No. 13) is approximately seven kilometres south-west of William Creek on the Oodnadatta Track and offers access to Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park.

The 80 kilometre K1 Warburton Crossing (PAR No. 15) provides access through Clifton Hills station on the Birdsville Track to the Simpson Desert Regional Reserve.

The Walkers Crossing route (PAR No. 16) is accessed via Innamincka or the Birdsville Track and its 226 kilometre length is a remote 4WD track.

Witjira National Park and the campground at Dalhousie Springs to the west of the Simpson Desert will not be impacted by the closures (except for the access from the Perdirka route,PAR No.8). Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park or Innamincka Regional Reserve will also not be affected by the closures.

Find out more about our Parks and pastoral program.

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