Operation continues to target illegal off-road vehicle use and firewood take

Friday 1 September, 2023

Parks Victoria is increasing patrols within Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park following a recent spike in illegal off-road vehicle use and firewood theft.

The eucalypt-rich park has become a hotspot for this destructive activity. In the past year, Parks Victoria recorded more than 80 offences and issued 30 infringements as part of Operation GREENWOLF.

Taking motorised vehicles off-road and removing crucial habitat and trees for firewood is illegal on public land. Operation GREENWOLF aims to reduce the long-term and often devastating impacts these illegal activities have on important ecological and cultural values.

Our authorised officers will partner with Victoria Police to conduct frequent patrols from August to October, using advanced surveillance technology to identify illegal off-road riding, driving, habitat damage and firewood theft.

Enjoying the Victorian bush from a motorised vehicle is a unique experience and we are grateful to most visitors who do the right thing. When on public land, remember:

  • All vehicles including trail bikes must be registered. Trail bike riders must hold a current motorbike licence – check yours on the VicRoads website
  • Stay on the formed roads and vehicle tracks – do not ride on natural terrain, closed or management roads, in streams, or on informal single tracks
  • Comply with park signage and be aware that there may be other park users enjoying the road and track network
  • Victoria's spring firewood collection season opens from Friday, September 1

The community can help by reporting any illegal activities or suspicious behaviour to Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or Victoria Police. Offenders can face a fine of up to $9,087 and/or a year in prison, as well as risk losing the items used to commit offences such as chainsaws, vehicles and other associated equipment.

Quotes attributable to Parks Victoria Ranger Team Leader, Scott Cunningham:

“Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park protects beautiful eucalypt forest made up of Red Stringybark, Blakely’s Red Gum, Grey Box and Mugga Ironbark. This environment provides critical habitat for threatened species such as the Regent Honeyeater, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Swift Parrot, Turquoise Parrot and Square Tailed Kite.

Off-road vehicle use creates significant erosion that impacts waterways, damages native vegetation and spreads disease and weeds into our parks. The alarming rate of illegal firewood take we’re seeing impacts the centuries-long process required to create tree hollows and shelter for native species.

We are grateful to the local community who are doing their part to preserve this special park.”

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