One of the great Australian pastimes is getting out and enjoying our Australian bush.
We are blessed in this region to have many varied wonderful spots where people can experience our nature and scenery.
There are those who would like the many great hidden gems of this region not be promoted at all. Those who think we should keep them secret.
A couple of years ago we did a piece on the under-rated beach jewel of our region, Port Kembla beach, which sparked the same sort of online rhetoric.
Without getting into some of the negative comment online in detail, it largely centred around not promoting the area to ensure less people knew about it and in turn less used it.
Seems like an odd approach.
By the same token, safe and responsible bushwalking is for everyone, not just the few who are wired to seek out these green spaces by their very nature (pun intended).
We all need to pass local knowledge on to the next generation for them to value and protect it.
One of the greatest ways of giving our kids an appreciation of the natural world and the environment is dragging them away from the X-Box and showing them.
We need to accept, once an for all, Wollongong is a tourism town and the Illawarra is a still largely untapped natural tourism region.
Take a look at what Tasmania has done. It has built an industry and reputation on giving people first-hand, first-class natural tourism experiences and they are dong so in enormous numbers.
The sheer volume of people they now welcome into the state is giving them the resources and funding to better look after their natural assets.
The growth in tourism in our region won't go away and if we were smart we should be looking at how to best harness that for the greater good.
We support the call from wise heads for better funding of our national parks for infrastructure and education. But locking areas up or not talking about them is not the answer.
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