We are pleased to give you an insight into the work done by our group of volunteers. New members are most welcome and have the opportunity to be involved in the project work undertaken by us when we travel to the Simpson Desert.
In recent years the popularity of 4WD vehicles and increased visitation to the fragile lands of the Simpson Desert has placed this unique environment under intense pressure. In August 1986 a group of dedicated volunteers recognised this and under the leadership of adventurer and conservationist, Warren Bonython, Friends of the Simpson Desert Parks (FOS) began. FOS is now one of more than 120 groups incorporated in Friends of Parks Inc.
The wildlife, cultural and heritage sites FOS are dedicated to preserving include:
- Munga-Thirri Simpson Desert Conservation Park (approx. 7000 sq. km.)
• Munga-Thirri Simpson Desert Regional Reserve (approx. 29642 sq. km.)
• Witjira National Park (approx. 7690 sq. km.)
• Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park ( approx. 12280 sq. km.)
• Elliott Price Conservation Park (approx. 646 sq. km.)
Munga-Thirri Simpson Desert Conservation Park and Regional Reserve were formed in January 2019. They stretch from Witjira National Park in the west, to the Northern Territory border in the north, almost to Birdsville in the east and to Kalamurina Sanctuary in the south.
Witjira National Park was formed in 2009 and starts at the entrance to the park in the west to just past Purni Bore at the start of the serious sandhills in the desert.
These parks are controlled by a Co- Management Board consisting of Aboriginal owners and senior Department of Environment and Water (DEW) staff, and managed by DEW park Rangers
If you travel across the Simpson Desert most of your travelling will be within these park boundaries.
Membership of FOS is composed of enthusiastic families and individuals, two thirds of whom come from outside South Australia. Members meet 4 times a year. A committee meets regularly, often with Department of Environment and Water (DEW) staff to review and plan group activities to widen the group’s effectiveness and propose projects for the future.
The objectives of the group are:
- To give volunteer support to park rangers
- To raise funds and public awareness
- To promote conservation
- To help protect culturally significant sites
- To reinforce codes of safety
- To ease the difficulties of visitors travelling in the remote regions of the national parks and conservation areas.
Volunteers are active in the parks during the cooler months, on a variety of projects. An important part of their conservation work is maintenance of existing irrigation lines and other projects.
This volunteer group raises funds, participates in activities, promotes conservation and reinforces the codes of safety for visitors travelling in these remote regions.