Show Cause letters for tearing up Pinnacles Reserve
Issued: 16 Feb 2023
Vehicle owners who accessed Pinnacles Reserve near Townsville recently have been issued Show Cause letters following an investigation by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS).
Senior Conservation Officer Craig Dunk said several vehicle owners had accessed areas within the reserve and caused considerable harm to the environment and damage to the firebreak on the boundary of the area.
“Unfortunately for some of those drivers, they have become bogged to the axles and could not get their vehicles out during the recent period of heavy rainfall,” Mr Dunk said.
“When rangers attended the scene, they found a vehicle which had attempted to tow another vehicle out and also became bogged to the axles.
“The drivers and their passengers had abandoned their vehicles in the reserve and walked out.
“Rangers found further evidence of disturbance to soil and vegetation, and vehicle bog holes where the vehicles have driven off the approved tracks in the reserve.
“Not only is this unsafe, but the vehicles can tear up ground cover, damage or kill trees and other vegetation, spread weeds and damage the natural and cultural values of the area.
“Tyre tracks, particularly where ground cover is removed on sloping ground can create long-lasting erosion issues that can cause serious environmental harm and cost a lot to repair.
“The repairs to the firebreak are likely to cost in excess of $50,000.”
Mr Dunk said the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) does not tolerate people who cause harm its protected area estate.
“Rangers will also not tolerate people using our protected areas as racetracks or places to drive recklessly,” he said.
“The safety of QPWS staff and visitors to our protected area is our number one priority, and we are asking people in the Townsville region to tread lightly by staying on approved roads and tracks – or to find other places where you can lawfully enjoy four-wheel-driving.”
“Before entering a National Park, State Forest or any other land, check to confirm any rules or requirements.
“In Pinnacles reserve, it is an offence to interfere with forest products, quarry material, earth or soil without an authority.
“Prohibited acts include, but are not limited to, cutting down trees, driving through the bush (not on an approved road or track) and collecting firewood.
“To minimise environmental harm to land managed by QPWS, rangers conduct patrols and use overt and covert cameras and drones for compliance purposes.”
The maximum penalty for interfering with Forest Products under section 54 of the Forestry Act 1959 is up to $143,750 for a first offence and up to $431,250 for any subsequent offences. Penalty Infringement Notices of $1,437.00 can also be issued.
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