EARLY bird Muster campers are being turned away as they arrive in Amamoor to set up camp ahead of the country music festival.
It has been a long tradition for many hardcore Muster fans, from all over Australia, to call Amamoor Creek State Forest Park their home during the winter months leading up to the event.
This year however, the campgrounds are unusually empty due to road and park closures caused by flood damage early this year.
According to the Department of Environment and Resource Management, the grounds will be open at the earliest on July 1, but could be delayed because of roadworks.
Slim Dusty Drive, one of the most sought after addresses at Amamoor Creek campground, is normally full of laughter and frivolity at this time of year.
But the well-known characters that get in and set up early to secure their prime positions are absent and may be at risk of losing their coveted spots.
Muster veteran Dan Rowland must be twiddling his thumbs back home in Torbanlea, waiting to be allowed through the gates to set up for his 30th year running.
He has never missed a Muster yet and his family normally spend three months from June to August at the Amamoor Creek State Forest Park.
While “nothing can keep him away from his favourite event of the year” the delay in getting there has been an inconvenience to Mr Rowland’s traditional holiday plans.
A Department of Environment and Resource Management spokesman said Gympie Regional Council was responsible for repairing Amamoor Creek Rd and had advised the department it would be ready by June 30.
“As this is considered the only safe route into the grounds, the campground has also been closed until it is repaired,” he said.
“The campground is in good condition and will be reopened once the road is safe again.”
The state forest took a hit during the floods in December/January with rangers working hard to get the Amamoor and Cedar Pocket campgrounds re-opened.
Mark Podberscek from Amamoor General Store said the closures had slowed business for all of Mary Valley.
“Easter to Muster time is our peak time traditionally. During the Easter holidays we normally open long hours but this year we closed early each day,” he said.
“We are missing the hard-core campers who haven’t been able to set up early as they usually do. On the weekend three or four came through and had to go elsewhere.
Mr Podberscek said he had been fielding phone calls from long-time Muster-goers inquiring about the campgrounds on a daily basis.
“I’ve asked council to indicate how long it’s going to take, but yesterday workers said it was going to be at least another four weeks.
“It’s hard to watch campers being turned away... Especially now while the creeks are full. It is actually looking very beautiful at the moment.”
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