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Essendon Football Club player Mark Baguley was shocked at the fragile condition of the dunes in Ocean Grove when he visited as part of the club’s training camp.
The Bombers were in Ocean Grove for three days last week and Baguley, a keen surfer, took the opportunity to visit the local beaches.
“I was disappointed to see that so many areas of the sand dunes along this great stretch of Victorian coastline have been damaged by people walking, climbing up or playing on them,” Baguley said.
“The signs are clear, stay off them. It’s common sense and not hard to do.
“If we all want to continue to enjoy these beaches and great surf breaks, and I certainly do, we need to simply walk down the access paths when we’re coming for a surf or a beach walk.”
Barwon Coast marketing and engagement manager Kate Wynn echoed the thoughts of Baguley.
“We are struggling to get the message out that huge amounts of damage is being done to fragile sand dunes,” she said.
“Despite signs that ask everyone to stay off the dunes, many people still climb fences to walk through them to access the beach, run up them for exercise and let their kids play on them”.
Frances McAloon President of Ocean Grove Coastcare said: “The job of the dune system is to protect the land behind it. This is being made increasingly difficult as foot traffic damages the plants that hold the dune together. People sandboarding, running up, or jumping on the sand dunes is weakening the plants that anchor the dune.”
 

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