National park vandals on notice

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

Increased surveillance and patrols of the south coast’s national parks and nature reserves will be enforced after a recent spate of antisocial and criminal damage which has caused tens of thousands of dollars damage.

Two electronic fee stations at The Gap and Natural Bridge in the Torndirrup National Park were damaged last Saturday night, causing an estimated $20,000 damage and following on from another fee station being vandalised earlier this year.

Police are investigating the incident.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has condemned recent vandalism which has also included the theft of park signage, damage and theft of gates and inappropriate use of four-wheel-drives and off-road bikes on coastal areas.

Taxpayers were also left to foot the bill of the severe damage to an important dune system in Waychinicup National Park which had undergone remedial work costing $6000.

Parks and Wildlife Service Albany district manager Peter Hartley said household rubbish had increasingly been dumped at Torndirrup and Gull Rock national parks and cars were being broken into.

“The department can no longer tolerate such damages against community and natural assets within the district,” he said.

“In other incidents park signage has been either stolen or maliciously damaged to a cost of several thousand dollars. In one example, the directional sign at Blow Holes in Torndirrup National Park has been stolen on two occasions costing approximately $2000 to replace.

“From now on action will be taken against such unruly and criminal behaviour and the department will be increasing the use of security cameras, upping the level of patrolling and surveillance in areas where such behaviours are taking place.”

Mr Hartley said the recent prosecution of a man found guilty and fined $800 for stealing and $400 for the damage of a gate from the Bakers Junction Nature Reserve was proof the department would seek prosecution through police and high penalties in the courts.

“The actions of a few inconsiderate individuals were impacting on the experience of other park users and (the) budget that is allocated for facility improvements is constantly being diverted to cover damages and thefts,” he said.

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