Parks Victoria and Moorabool police are calling for witnesses after vandals felled five trees – some more than 100 years old.
A chainsaw was used to fell the trees, which were left at Lerderderg Campground around the Upper Chadwick Track between December 3 and 4.
Parks Victoria district manager Tony English said no wood was taken from the stringybarks and grey gums.
A large steel fire-pit, engraved with the name of Parks Victoria, was pulled from the ground and removed from the site.
“We see a lot of things going on in our parks, but this is a senseless act we are struggling to understand,” Mr English said.
“We’re stunned by the scale of this vandalism, which has killed trees that have been growing for more than a century.
“They simply went around the park chopping the largest trees they could see.
“They were trees in a beautiful location we were hoping the public could continue to enjoy.”
Mr English said it was thought four to six people would have been involved.
“They are very fortunate that they didn’t drop these trees on themselves,” he said. “It was a very amateurish job, but they’ve managed to drop these trees all the same.
“Felling such large trees would have been dangerous, noisy and time-consuming, so we’re asking anyone who might have heard or seen suspicious activity to contact Parks Victoria or Victoria Police.
“In the meantime, our staff will be hard at work to clear the campsite ready for visitors to enjoy the state park during the Christmas holidays.”
Penalties for cutting, felling, removing, damaging or destroying vegetation in national and state parks can include initial fines under the National Parks Act 1975, additional fines under the Wildlife Regulations 2013 and court judgments in which further penalties may be applied.
Anyone with information is being urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 00 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.