I’d been gone 10 years. It was beautiful to see that Eden hadn’t changed too much.

In 2006, when I left here as editor of the local paper, the communities around Twofold Bay were still, in a lot of ways, more comfortable with the culture and traditions of their pasts rather than the changes and development being urged upon them by the future.

To me, this distinguished the area from some coastal towns and cities elsewhere that I saw embracing tourism and development in a way that was a little eager, and haphazard, and so compromised the integrity and character that made these beautiful little communities such great places to visit in the first place.

Apart from a few changes in the main street, a new business here and there, when I returned to Eden earlier this year it was much the same. And it was wonderful.

Some people, however, get frustrated with the slow pace of development south of the Yowaka River. Some call it backward. I don’t. To me, this place represents a vision of community and place that is wise, and forward thinking. The perfect communities of the future will practice development in a way that is equally cautious, wary of the cons as well as the pros that rapid change can bring.

I think this can be done in a thoughtful way that is conscious of the town’s history and character, and of the surrounding natural environment.

It is true that if we are going to make it possible for our young people to stay in Eden, for young families to make homes and lives here, we do need to create job opportunities and develop our economic base.

But I think this can be done in a thoughtful way that is conscious not only of the town’s history and character, but, critically, of the surrounding natural environment and the quality of life of the people who live here.

The Pacific Ocean and Twofold Bay, the rivers, streams and wetlands, the forests, the sandy beaches, the pure air, and an amazing diversity of plants, birds, animals and fish – these are the Far South Coast’s most valuable assets, and so we must treat them as such.

dee-gees-ben-boyd-np-24In business terms, the quality of the natural environment down here is our region’s “special sauce,” and successful, sustainable business and economic development must surely have the protection of this natural environment as its core value.

Which is why I’m thrilled to join Arthur and Jenny Robb as they launch their new eco-tourism enterprise, Light to Light Camps.

As they proved with their much-loved Kiah Wilderness Tours, Arthur and Jenny both understand the environment, ecology and history of this region, and have a huge passion for it.

With Light to Light to Camps we plan to not only showcase the incredible coastline within Ben Boyd National Park, but also to make our own investments in local education and conservation. We know that even the best eco-tourism business is only as good as the environment that is its product, and so we plan to do the right thing by that environment and those that work so hard to protect it.

Not only will we be donating a portion of all booking fees to local conservation and education efforts, we’ll also roll up the sleeves and do some of the hard yakka ourselves. You can expect to see Light to Light Camps cleanups, trail repair events, workshops and much more in the coming years.

We are committed to being responsible stewards of this beautiful part of the world, to supporting other local business, and to creating educational opportunities that deepen our understanding of the amazing natural world that surrounds us.

If these sound like your values too, come and visit us. We’re proud of our little neck of the woods, and are excited about showing it to the world.

A former editor of the local paper, Jake Lynch left Eden in 2006 to follow his heart, and general sense of adventure, across the United States to work for recreation and community development nonprofits. But some opportunities are just too good to pass up, and he was very easily lured back to join the Light to Light Camps team in 2016.