Call for responsible long weekend


Victorians, including those in Melton and Moorabool, are being urged to spend the upcoming extra-long weekend responsibly, particularly when four-wheel driving or trail bike-riding.

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) and Conversation Regulator Victoria have issued a joint release to say authorised officers will be patrolling forests, parks and reserves targeting illegal offroad activity, littering and unsafe campfires.

“Victoria has had a very wet start to spring, with heavy rainfall and high river flows across the state affecting dirt road conditions and many tracks in state forest and parks will remain closed until early November to prevent serious road damage,” the statement said.

“It is an offence to use them while closed.

“Due to high, natural Murray River flows, many tracks throughout Gunbower Island, and Benwell and Guttrum State Forests remain closed. Please do not to drive through flood water, off road or around gates onto closed roads for your own safety and so you don’t impact the environment.”

Acting regulatory program manager Glenn Smith said it was important to “play by the rules” on public land this long weekend.

“The weather forecast for this weekend is mostly mild and sunny across most of our region. Be prepared for busy camping and recreation spots, and look after yourselves and others,” Mr Smith said.

“If you’re exploring our forests on foot, bike or 4WD it’s important you respect the rules to keep the environment and community safe.

“Trail bike-riders and four-wheel drivers are reminded they must be licenced, vehicles registered and can only use formed roads and tracks to protect the environment and other forest users.”

He said anyone caught illegally riding or driving vehicles off-road in state forests can face on-the-spot fines of $185 or up to $500 if the matter is taken to court.

“Damaging, disturbing, or destroying wildlife habitat carries a maximum fine of more than $9000,” Mr Smith said.

“Visitors are also responsible for building and keeping safe campfires, including where and what they use and never leaving it unattended, even for a short while.

“Campfires should be put out with water, not soil, and be cool to the touch before leaving. And all rubbish must be taken home, not dumped or burned.”

The statement urged anyone who witnesses illegal vehicle use or rubbish dumping on public land to report it on 136 186 and reminded people to check local closures before you head off on the Parks Victoria website or