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Men in restricted access area at Lake Eacham cop $353 fines

22 February 2016

Two men from the Cairns area who ignored signs closing off a dangerous area at Lake Eacham near Atherton have each been fined $353.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Senior Ranger Matt Wallace said QPWS had declared a restricted access area (RAA) around a tree used for jumping into the lake and erected fencing and signage back in November 2015, but people were ignoring the RAA.

"The restriction is for everyone’s safety, and we will continue to issue fines," Mr Wallace said.

"Sadly, a woman recently severely injured her back attempting to jump from the tree, when she hit the bank below.

"Any member of the public entering the restricted access area without permission from QPWS is liable for a $353 fine. Rangers issued fines in late January to a man from Cairns and a man from Palm Cove.

"Some locals have suggested cutting down this tree to stop the jumpers, but why should we destroy a healthy rainforest tree to stop this behaviour?

"The tree is part of the natural environment, helping to keep the steep bank stable, and is on a national park within the Wet Topics World Heritage Area. People need to respect that, as well as their own safety.

"Staff regularly inspect the site and remove any rope swings that people put on the tree.

"QPWS has distributed information to local accommodation providers, to further educate the public about the risks of jumping from trees into water.

"Apart from the chance of hitting the bank or submerged objects, keep in mind that when you jump or dive from a great height, water doesn't soften your landing. The speed at which you hit the water makes it feel like you are hitting a wall instead of liquid.

"Visitors are responsible for their own safety. They need to observe safety and restricted access signage, and look after themselves.

"Parks and forests contain many natural hazards, and those hazards change quickly during the wet season.

"QPWS has declared restricted access areas at dangerous sites in some other far north Queensland parks, such as Josephine Falls in Wooroonooran National Park and Murray Falls.

"Warning signage is usually in several languages and with pictograms," Mr Wallace said.

Last updated
22 February 2016