‘Carnage’ with axe, chainsaw to 119 trees
THE hunt is on for whoever cut down 119 trees with axe and chainsaw at Avisford Nature Reserve west of Mudgee.
National Parks and Wildlife Service Mudgee manager, David Crust, says staff uncovered the tree felling during a routine patrol, but were alerted to further trees cut down along the reserve boundary by a mountain-bike rider.
“It’s absolute carnage – a huge mess,” says Mr Crust.
“Someone has taken a chainsaw and an axe to 45 trees within the nature reserve and another 74 along the boundary.
“It appears that the trees within the nature reserve have been cut down in a deliberate attempt to block access along a fire trail.
“This trail is very important as a fire-control line and is regularly used by walkers and mountain-bike riders as well as providing access to private property.
“Many of the trees are quite big, and, looking closely at the way they have been cut down, it is lucky that whoever did it wasn’t hurt.
“Avisford Nature Reserve is home to several endangered species including the Capertee stringy-bark, which is listed as vulnerable under the Threatened Species Conservation Act.
“NPWS officers are examining whether any Capertee stringy-barks have been cut down – regardless, there are heavy fines for cutting down trees and damaging vegetation within a nature reserve or national park.
“Someone may have seen something, heard the chainsaw or noticed something suspicious.
“It’s a lot of trees – 119 – and it may have taken a couple of days to cut them down.
“Hopefully someone can come forward with some information that can help us track down whoever did this. Anyone with information is asked to call NPWS in Mudgee on 6370 9000.
“The popularity of Avisford Nature Reserve has being increasing over recent years . . . bush walking and mountain-bike riding are welcome activities but trail bikes, horse riding, dogs and firearms are not permitted.
“The NPWS has approached Mid-Western Regional Council and Mudgee police in an effort to control the illegal use of tracks around the boundary by trail-bike riders and four-wheel drivers.
“Mudgee police have already undertaken operations in conjunction with patrols by NPWS officers, with fines and cautions issued to trail bike riders and horse riders,” Mr Crust says.