by Keagan Elder
FRUSTRATED surfer Bryn Goode is sick of finding local beaches ruined by rubbish strewn about by free campers.
Heading for a surf at Macauleys early on Saturday, he was met by a carpark filled with 22 vans and cars which freely camped overnight.
Among the vans and tents were empty glass bottles and "s****y toilet paper".
Bryn said if nothing was done soon, the Coffs Coast and other NSW beaches could turn into "the Mecca for free camping".
"I'm trying to get some action to get a ranger to police it and also work on better signage and maybe to even work in with the community to help sort the problem out," Mr Goode said.
"I want to keep our beaches stay natural and make them available for everyone to enjoy."
He said simple signs would educate travellers.
"There is no signage around a lot of the beaches, and no consistent checking from rangers so how are the free campers to know?" he said.
A Coffs Harbour City Council spokeswoman said the council was in the process of getting signage at Macauleys.
She said all of the council's beaches had signage prohibiting free camping.
"Council's rangers are currently carrying out early morning patrols on areas such as Macauleys Headland car park and have issued 30 no camping penalty notices in the Coffs Coast Regional Park over the past fortnight. These on-the-spot fines range from $75 to $300," the spokeswoman said.
Bryn, who himself goes camping, counter-argued the point travellers contributed to the local economy, saying free campers probably bought little food and fuel before leaving for the next spot.
"On average I do about 10 trips per year locally and visit some beautiful spots that are not that expensive, I don't rely on any free camping," he said.
The council spokeswoman said there were limited free camping spots on State Forest land off Bruxner Park Rd at Swans Rd, but vehicles needed to be self-contained as there were no amenities.
She said there was a public dump point at Phil Hawthorn Dr and those wanting a shower could pay for one at the Clog Barn or at the Coffs Harbour Olympic Memorial Pool.