Drive responsibly in parks or pay the price
Wednesday 2 October, 2013
Parks Victoria is calling on park users to drive responsibly or face the consequences after off-road driving caused damage to new vegetation in Paddy Ranges State Park.
Rangers and local Girl Guides were extremely disappointed to find years of hard work to restore a degraded allotment in the park was undone by careless driving in the park recently.
“Maryborough Girl Guides have taken on regenerating a patch of land in the park, and have passionately planted more than 1,000 trees and shrubs during several planting days over the last four years,” said Maryborough Girl Guide Leader, Belinda Pritchard.
“It’s devastating to see the girls’ efforts to improve the environment destroyed in a senseless act of vandalism. Some of the trees that were damaged had just started to establish themselves and the girls will need to replant some trees to fix up the mess left behind.”
Ranger Rob Brouwers said more than 20 trees were damaged or ripped out of the ground, with tell-tale signs of ‘donuts’ left in the ground.
“Conditions in park are still a little wet and boggy but that’s no excuse for doing the wrong thing. Vehicles should only be used on formed open roads to minimise risk and prevent damage to the environment,” said Rob.
“Not only does off-road driving contribute to erosion, vegetation damage and the spread of weeds and pests, it is also illegal.
“Parks Victoria is investigating this matter further and will take action on cases we find during routine patrols or reported by concerned residents,” he said.
Under the National Parks Act and the Land Conservation (Vehicle Control) Act 1972, Parks Victoria can issue on-the-spot fines from $144 for driving or riding off-road. Offenders can be taken to court where heavier penalties apply or they may be forced to pay costs for the damage or restoration to the park.
“We would much prefer to see people behave responsibly to protect the park rather than issue fines or take people to court.
“Paddys Ranges State Park is a great spot to get outdoors for a walk and picnic and it’s really accessible to most people being so close to Maryborough.”
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