INTERNATIONAL campers are pitching tents and sleeping in vans at the base of Mount Canobolas with no facilities, as they wait to start work fruit picking and take in local attractions.
The visitors are now under threat of being moved on after Cabonne Council says there are hygiene issues due to the lack of facilities and the potential for a nearby creek to become polluted.
The campers have set up alongside John Williams Park, which is signposted with “No Camping” signs by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
There are no campers in that park area, however there is a toilet facility and a pile of rubbish in one overflowing bin in the park.
One of the campers Denis Akassar, from France, said as there were no facilities several of the group drove to Orange to wash and shower.
“For a few dollars you can get in to the pool where there are showers,” he said.
The campers interviewed by the Central Western Daily said they were happy to camp in the area as there was no charge involved.
Cabonne Council spokesman Dale Jones said council was aware local orchardists relied on backpackers and casual fruit pickers to harvest their crops.
“But large numbers of campers using reserves with no facilities obviously causes problems and council has little choice but to enforce the no-camping provision,” Mr Jones said.
Many of the campers, mostly from European countries, told the CWD they were keen to extend their working visas but had to prove they had worked on a farm or orchard to do so.
Orange City Council spokesman Alan Reeder said council was considering reintroducing camping at Lake Canobolas, just a couple of kilometres down the road, where camping is currently banned.
“It certainly is on council’s radar again due to the increasing number of backpacker-type tourists and workers we seem to be getting through are area now,” Mr Reeder said.
He said council was considering two options - one with toilets and showers but no electricity provided, and a separate area of the lake where potentially cabins with electricity connected could be built.