Insider Guide: Murray River National Park

Insider Guide: Murray River National Park

Go behind the scenes to dis­cov­er the unique jobs and pas­sion­ate peo­ple that care for South Australia’s environment.

Phil Stra­chan – Dis­trict Man­ag­er of pub­lic lands in the Riverland

How would you describe your job to some­one at a BBQ?

I man­age pub­lic lands in the River­land, which include nation­al parks and reserves, crown land and the nation­al estate. I lead the River­land Dis­trict team in car­ry­ing out a range of activ­i­ties relat­ed to con­ser­va­tion and recre­ation with­in our parks, and encour­age and sup­port land­hold­ers with land man­age­ment activities.

The River­land team is inte­gral to the deliv­ery of major envi­ron­men­tal projects with­in River­land parks and I help coor­di­nate impor­tant on-ground activ­i­ties from pest plant and ani­mal con­trol, to installing infrastructure.

How did you get into this line of work?

I’ve always enjoyed the out­doors. I grew up fish­ing, camp­ing and play­ing sports, and thought work­ing in the envi­ron­men­tal field would be fun, excit­ing and enable me to work out­side. I also thought that it beat pick­ing fruit for a living!

What do you encounter on a nor­mal’ day on the job?

Every day is always a lit­tle dif­fer­ent from the last. As a Dis­trict Man­ag­er, I catch up with staff and col­leagues on a dai­ly basis, approve finan­cial bits and pieces, and try and get through the nev­er end­ing emails.

I also pro­vide envi­ron­men­tal advice on a range of things from devel­op­ment appli­ca­tions to native veg­e­ta­tion mat­ters. There are many enquiries from the pub­lic, such as want­i­ng to know about acces­si­bil­i­ty to our parks after rain.

Although there is more office work com­pared to my pre­vi­ous job as a ranger, I still man­age to get out into our parks and region to inspect major works, address pub­lic enquiries and for dai­ly exercise.

What’s the most amaz­ing thing you’ve seen atMur­ray Riv­er Nation­al Park?

Dur­ing the 2010 flood, the bird life at the Katara­p­ko Creek Flood­plain (in the main area of Katara­p­ko) was like noth­ing I had seen before in the region. A large range of bird species took advan­tage of the extra water – see­ing around 100 night herons nest­ing at the mouth of the Katara­p­ko Creek was very special.

What are your insid­er tips for vis­it­ing Mur­ray Riv­er Nation­al Park?

Flood­plains are often over­looked by River­land park vis­i­tors – the riv­er and back­wa­ters are always the star attrac­tion. How­ev­er, the flood­plains at the Mur­ray Riv­er Nation­al Park are just as scenic and relax­ing to explore.

With age-old Euca­lypts and fam­i­lies of kan­ga­roos, flood­plain life is unique and not to be under­es­ti­mat­ed. Come in spring and sum­mer when the tem­per­a­ture is warm enough for a dip in Katara­p­ko Creek and camp­sites are shad­ed. One last tip -– don’t for­get to bring your fish­ing rod. 

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living