National Volunteer Week: Preston Beach Volunteer Rangers a community effort

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Preston Beach Volunteer Rangers Barry Pitman, Tammy Smith and Noel Dew.
Camera IconPreston Beach Volunteer Rangers Barry Pitman, Tammy Smith and Noel Dew. Credit: Supplied

It is a group formed by the community to protect people and the environment.

In early 1999, a group of Preston Beach residents were concerned about how increasing numbers of visitors would impact the pristine section of coastline they call home.

With only one ranger in the Shire of Waroona at the time, residents proposed to the council the idea of a volunteer ranger group in the coastal community.

In December that year, the council agreed to a 12-month trial and with a small four-wheel drive, some uniforms and training from the Shire ranger, the volunteer rangers set to work making the 17km of Preston Beach coastline a safer place for all users.

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Over two decades later, the group has gone from strength to strength.

Coordinator Noel Dew said the their main role was to educate people to use the beach responsibly, but the volunteer rangers also play a part in protecting the natural environment.

“We work extremely hard to keep people out of the dunes and we are involved in the dune rehab program,” he said.

There are currently seven community rangers, with two more set to soon join their ranks.

For the first time, they will also be joined by a cadet volunteer ranger later this year.

The group estimates they volunteer around 1000 hours of time each year helping patrol the coast.

Although they do not issue infringements, the volunteer rangers do caution those caught doing the wrong thing.

It is not uncommon for their expertise to be used by emergency services, sometimes in potentially life-threatening situations.

At other times, their work is a bit more odd.

In one instance, the volunteer rangers helped assist Water Police in locating a stolen $1 million yacht, which was found a kilometre out to sea off the Preston Beach coast.

Those interested in joining the ranks of the community rangers are asked to contact the Shire of Waroona.

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