Call for more rangers to manage six million visits a year to Royal National Park

Royal National Park visitor numbers have surged to more than six million a year.

This is a staggering increase of nearly 1.5 million over the previous two years and about twice the number recorded eight to 10 years ago.

The National Parks Visitor Survey, which has been conducted every two years since 2008 by Roy Morgan Research, found in 2018 the Royal was the second most popular in the state, behind Blue Mountains with 8.4 million visits.

The growing popularity of the Coast Track, Wedding Cake Rock, Figure 8 Pools and Wattamolla have obviously had a big input into the numbers.

Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean welcomed a 16.6 per cent state-wide increase in national park visitation.

There were more than 60 million visits in 2018, compared with nearly 52 million in 2016.

Gary Schoer, secretary of National Parks Association (Southern Sydney Branch) called for more National Parks and Wildlife Service staff to deal with the extra visitors pouring into the Royal.

"The funding formula for national parks has been cut back and there are not enough staff to manage the number of visitors," he said.

"We are getting thousands of of people visiting Wedding Cake Rock, for instance, and all the times I am there I rarely see a National Parks officer on the job.

"The government should be looking at more staff to educate visitors about the value of the national park estate and address the less than optimal supervision of illegal activities, such as mountain bike riding on illegal tracks."

Mr Schoer said extra funds were also needed to maintain tracks.

"We welcome the work that has been done to harden the coastal walk between Bundeena and Otford," he said.

"We think they have done a very good job making sure the track is resilient to the increase in numbers.

"But, there are some other parts of the park, such as the Curra Moors Track from Sir Bertram Stevens Drive to Eagle Rock, which are badly eroded and have been that way for over a decade."

To full survey: