Storm clean-up underway but some parks remain closed

Friday 2 July, 2021

The hard work of assessing the storm damage continues as rangers tackle the huge amount of fallen trees and debris left behind in parks by last month’s severe weather.

While some select parks and walking tracks have re-opened in the Dandenong Ranges, Yarra Valley Ranges, Macedon Ranges and Gippsland, many remain closed for public safety.

Storm cleanup Dandenong Ranges National Park

Parks Victoria staff, professional arborists and skilled tree crews are continuing to work through the task of systematically identifying and removing hundreds of hazardous trees that could pose a danger to visitors.

Despite the hard work being done, the scale of the damage caused by the storms means some parks will face longer closures before they can be made safe for public access.

Storm cleanup Dandenong Ranges National Park

William Ricketts Sanctuary and the popular 1000 Steps in the Dandenong Ranges National Park were hit badly by the storms.

At the William Ricketts Sanctuary, large eucalyptus trees have struck and impacted buildings – and unfortunately damaged several of the famous clay sculptures created by artist William Ricketts. Large trees also fell over the 1000 Steps and the uprooted trees have pulled parts of the concrete steps out of the ground.

North west of Melbourne, the wild weather impacted Trentham Falls in the Macedon Regional Park, resulting in hundreds of fallen trees across the site. The Mount Macedon Cross and tearooms and other nearby picnic areas around Mount Macedon also remain closed to visitors.

Parks Victoria will assess the damage at these areas to get a clearer picture of what repair work needs to be done before the sites are safe to re-open to the public. The assessment work can’t be done safely until all the hazardous trees are removed.

Storm cleanup Dandenong Ranges National Park

It’s extremely important for visitors to continue to stay out of closed parks, as hazardous trees pose a significant safety concern.

When severe storms occur, rainfall soaks deeply into the ground, making it soft and reducing the grip of tree roots, making trees more likely to fall in strong winds. Where trees are grouped, some may have become uprooted, but remain “hanging” against other trees and could fall without warning, even in light winds.

Storm cleanup Dandenong Ranges National Park

These risks are why some parks remain closed while the hazardous tree risks are assessed. Visitors are urged to keep out of closed parks - they are closed for your safety.

Parks Victoria is working with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and Bushfire Recovery Victoria, to ensure a coordinated approach to recovery on public land.

Storm cleanup Dandenong Ranges National Park

If your favourite park is closed, visit Places to See for alternative places to visit.

For the latest information on which parks remain closed, visit the Safety in Nature page, or for detailed information on track closures, look at the change of conditions on individual park pages.

 

Photos: Parks Victoria (Jacque Quaine)

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