Operations stop illegal trailbikers in the Otways
SEVERAL compliance operations have seen a decrease in the number of illegal trailbikes in the Great Otway National Park.
Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), and Victoria Police officers from Anglesea ran one such compliance operation over the Melbourne Cup long weekend.
Over four days, about 250 riders were spoken to in the national park and the Otway Forest Park.
While 13 of the riders received infringement notices for illegal off-road riding, this was significantly less than last year when a similar operation saw more than 50 riders caught riding illegally.
Parks Victoria ranger team leader Scott Nicholson said there was little doubt their operations were having an impact.
“Our education and compliance operations in the Great Otway National Park appear to be resulting in more responsible trailbike riding and behaviour.
“While we will continue operations in and around the national park, including with surveillance cameras and plain-clothed officers, the Cup weekend results are encouraging us that people are considering the environment and other park users.”
Keeping trailbike riders off this land helps protect native plants and animals. This is particularly important in the Great Otway National Park, as long-nosed potoroo, southern brown bandicoot and spot-tailed quoll are extinct elsewhere.
DELWP trailbike project manager Roger Pitt said having people stick to the laws would help preserve the environment.
“Trailbike riding and four-wheel driving are increasingly popular ways to enjoy our forests and parks but it’s essential to stay on the formed roads and official vehicle tracks to protect the environment we all value.
“If inconsiderate riders and drivers take their motorcycles and 4WD vehicles off road onto natural terrain, single-track and watercourses, severe long-term vegetation damage and erosion can occur.”
In certain illegal areas the bikers have also proved a risk to themselves and others, with the Anglesea area of the park being a particular hotspot for accidents.