Vandals have struck Lerderderg State Park for the second time in as many months, leaving behind a trail of fallen trees, rubbish, graffiti and potentially incriminating evidence.
Camping blogger Brandon Traynor was on a trek through the park earlier this month when he came across three trees that had been illegally felled.
“Three trees had been cut down with a chainsaw, rubbish had been left everywhere, the fire was still going on Sunday morning and full of broken glass and plastic, and nearby trees had been graffitied on,” Mr Traynor posted on the Swag Country Facebook page.
He said the main entrance of the camp site had been blocked by the fallen trees.
At first, Mr Traynor thought wind might have felled the trees.
“But when we stopped, it was clear that they had been deliberately cut down – and not by a professional, but by someone who certainly didn’t know what they were doing,” he said.
Mr Traynor said the campsite was littered with broken beer bottles and cans, takeaway containers, open loaves of bread and empty condom wrappers. A receipt from an adult shop in Sunshine, listing purchases made at 11.09pm on Saturday (February 3) as well as the “customer number” and a name was also found among the rubbish.
“We handed all the photographs and the receipt we found in to a local ranger … it was a very, very fresh receipt,” he said. “It literally looked like someone had just gone shopping.”
He said a ranger told him that the site had been clean and undamaged the previous morning.
This is the latest incident at the park, after vandals illegally cut down five trees, some more than 100-years-old, at the Upper Chadwick Track in December.
The chief ranger for Geelong, Mike Forsyth, said Parks Victoria had been notified of the abandoned campsite and felled trees and the incident was being investigated.
“Unfortunately, it’s an all too frequent occurrence … Parks Victoria staff’s valuable time and resources being used to clean up rubbish and vandalism,” Mr Forsyth said.
“Cleaning up from any act of vandalism takes away time and money that could be better spent on productive activities such as maintaining walking tracks or improving park services”.
Anyone with information is being urged to contact Parks Victoria or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.