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Cockle Creek campground hosts a big hit with visitors

13/01/2009

Volunteers are proving a big hit with visitors to the Cockle Creek campground host program with the reserve experiencing one of its busiest seasons.

Parks and Wildlife Service Southern Region volunteer coordinator Pip Gowen said the success has been the result of an enthusiastic response to a call for volunteer campground hosts last year.

Ms Gowen said campground hosts have been maintaining a full-time presence at Cockle Creek since before Christmas and are also helping PWS rangers and field staff in servicing visitor facilities at the Hartz Mountains and Southport Lagoon.

``The program builds on the success of similar volunteer programs at Maatsuyker and Deal islands and it also taps into the strong connections that people have with particular areas.

"Cockle Creek is a major gateway to the World Heritage Area and it's a starting and finishing point for walkers on the South Coast Track," Ms Gowen said.

She said while the site has been popular with Tasmanians for decades it seems the notoriety of being Australia's southernmost point of road access is spreading, with a noticeable increase in day visitors from interstate and overseas.

Franklin neighbours, Jacinta Parkes and Barbara Gasparovic have shared hosting duties over the past week. This is Barbara's second year being a campground hosting at Cockle Creek and Jacinta said she plans to come back for another stint next year.

"It's a really beautiful place and I love talking with the interstate and international visitors," Barbara said.

Ms Gowen said that she believes that having local residents strengthens the campground host program.

"To have local people come here and be so passionate about the interest they have for the area and sharing that with visitors is a very special part of this program.

"Jacinta is really passionate about the history and the culture of the area and she loves sharing that with visitors," she said.

The campground hosts will be at Cockle Creek throughout January, on weekends during February and at Easter.