Simpson Desert and remote tracks closed over summer

News article |

The Simpson Desert and four Public Access Routes (PARs) 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 21 November 2016.

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

The closures will apply from Thursday 1 December 2016 to Wednesday 15 March 2017 and affect the Simpson Desert Conservation Park and Regional Reserve, Halligan Bay (PAR No. 13), K1 Warburton Crossing (PAR No. 15) and Walkers Crossing (PAR No.16).

Natural Resources SA Arid Lands Manager Parks and Co-management Tony Magor said it was necessary to close the areas during summer to prevent potential life-threatening situations.

“We can’t assume that everyone is fully aware of the possible dangers when travelling in remote outback areas and along isolated tracks,” Mr Magor said.

“Daytime temperatures range between 40 and 50 degrees Celsius during the summer and some international visitors do not have the level of experience required to make these crossings in extreme conditions.

“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 said the risk extended to emergency personnel called in to help stranded visitors.

Information signs have been strategically placed around the park to inform visitors of the Simpson Desert closure, and the three PARs will have their access gates signed and closed. All regional communities and visitor information centres are aware of the closure as they have been occurring for a number of years.

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

While the Simpson Desert Conservation Park and Regional Reserve has routinely closed over summer for the past eight years, this is the fifth year the Pastoral Board has closed the selected PARs.

Pastoral Board Presiding Member Geoff Mills said it was 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 dangerous these places can be,” Mr Mills said.

The Halligan Bay route (PAR No. 13) commences approximately 7 km south-west of William Creek on the Oodnadatta Track, and offers access to Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park (60km).

The 80 km 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 a remote 4WD track accessed via Innamincka or the Birdsville Track and is 226 km long.

Witjira National Park and the campground at Dalhousie Springs to the west of the Simpson Desert will not be impacted by the closures. Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park or Innamincka Regional Reserve will also not be affected by the closures.

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