TWO of Noosa's front-line environment advocates are officially stepping away from overseeing one of the area's real assets - the national park info hut.
Noosa National Park information hut project officers for the Noosa Parks Association Kay Cartwright and Valerie Williams have both volunteered their last shift after "many years" of service.
Well, in the case of Valerie, she will continue to help out at the park as one of about 40 "troops”, rather than help spearhead the running of this important NPA fundraiser.
The end of an era took place last Thursday with a morning tea and many heart-felt good wishes from their team after first heading up this tourist magnet in March, 2009.
"Kay and I have been both working here from the beginning,” Valerie said.
"It's been a learning curve for us.”
Kay and Valerie said they were really attracted to the concept of a community group running a tourist centre in a national park when it was first explained to them by NPA leaders Dr Michael Gloster and ex-mayor Noel Playford.
"The aim was to look after the visitors, do the (information) work for the rangers so they can get out and do the (environmental) work,” Valerie said.
At that time the centre only sold drinks and ice creams and snacks before the expansion into a wider range of retail and coffee.
"It was all to raise money for a block of land and we're all very excited about that."
According to NPA spokeswoman Liz Smits: "The time volunteered by all the NNP project officers and the many volunteers is generating funds for the NPA Land Acquisition Fund.”
This enables the NPA to "initiate and financially lever national park extension projects like the recently concluded agreement between NPA, Noosa Council and the Queensland Government to significantly expand Tewantin National Park".
"This project requires financial contributions into the future, so it is important that the new NNP project officers be supported so the successful project can continue to generate land fund moneys," Liz said
Kay said said meeting and helping visitors from all over the world is "the beautiful part about this”.
"Our most favourite thing is standing there (at the counter) just talking to people. The number of people who come here from all over, and everyone's on holidays. It's the most pleasant thing in the world,” Kay said.
And Kay said they have come to know some great locals like the band of old surfers who come down to the park centre with their guitars once a month and have a jam session.