Macedon Ranges council to tighten security for hikers

Macedon Ranges council will tighten surveillance and bring in security measures for hikers at Kyneton’s Bald Hill Reserve after trail bike riders ripped up the bush.

Council and Friends of Bald Hill members are concerned about the long-term damage trail bikes may cause both native vegetation and communities of native birds and animals, some threatened species, at the reserve.

Friends of Bald Hill president Carolyn Robb said it was disappointing vandals had caused environmental damage and disturbed wildlife habitat with their illegal riding.

“It happened Sunday two weeks ago, and you can still see the damage,” Ms Robb said.

“They’d been doing circles, they’ve dug up a lot of the soil that had a lot of native plants in there. It’s a significant area that they’re digging up.

“They haven’t even kept to the trail, and therefore lots of the orchids will be gone because of that.

“The burrows are dispersed across the site, which also supports a range of other important flora and fauna, including threatened lilies and orchids as well as the brush-tailed phascogale.”

She said logs were laid over the small tracks to create jumps, which also “ripped up” more of the bush.

“There are signs up to say no motorbikes are allowed up at Bald Hill,” Ms Robb said.

“This is 96 hectares of nationally significant flora and fauna, and we are very disappointed that people would do this.”

Signage at the reserve states that passive recreation pursuits, including bushwalking, birdwatching and nature photography, are welcomed in the reserve, but trail bike riding is not allowed.

Ms Robb said trail bike riders need to be made aware of where they can and can’t ride.

Alternatives for trail bike riders in the Macedon Ranges include many tracks in both the Cobaw and Wombat State Forests.

Macedon Ranges council chief executive Peter Johnston said council would enforce no bikes in the bush rules at the reserve.

Council’s local laws officers plan to increase patrols of the Bald Hill area.

“It’s particularly disappointing, especially when the community is so active in looking after Bald Hill,” Mr Johnston said.

Bald Hill Reserve has been recognised recently as having one of the largest remaining populations of endangered Brown Toadlets, or Bibron’s Toadlet, which makes an ‘ark’ call all year round.

These creatures live in small, fragile burrows just under the surface of the soil in both forests and grasslands.