Illegal bike tracks damage endangered wildlife habitat
Tamara Glumac, Canberra Times Tuesday, 18 July 2006
The habitat of some of the ACT's most-endangered wildlife has been damaged by illegally constructed mountain-bike courses in nature reserves.
Patrols by rangers have been stepped up to catch the culprits after illegal bike ramps, pits and jumps were discovered at Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve and on Tuggeranong Hill.
Mulligans Flat houses one of Australia's most-endangered woodland communities with species including the brown treecreeper and superb parrot.
At Tuggeranong Hill, there are added concerns about "trail-bike hoons" causing soil degradation.
Canberra Nature Parks manager Daniel Iglesias said damage at the reserves would require considerable resources to repair.
"People have physically dug up the bush to create bike jumps without realising they are destroying incredibly endangered habitat. This is habitat we really want to preserve because there is hardly any of it left," he said.
"While we allow people on bikes in general to use the reserve, they are restricted to built tracks."
Mr Iglesias said native animals were being pushed away from such areas.
"We've recently discovered there are hardly any small mammals in Canberra Nature Park. We are not saying bike riders have caused their demise but their activity is contributing to the loss of flora and fauna.
"It is having an unacceptable impact on their environment."
ACT Minister for Territories and Municipal Services John Hargreaves warned those caught using Canberra's forests, parks and reserves inappropriately faced "serious consequences".
"The safety risk and potentially irreparable damage to the environment caused by these activities are unacceptable.When we catch people acting illegally, constructions will be removed immediately and those responsible will be put before the courts," he said.
"Those who seek to do damage to our parks and reserves will not be treated lightly."
Under the Nature Conservation Act, those caught damaging or destroying a natural or constructed feature within a reserve can be fined up to $5000.
Call Canberra Connect 13 22 81 to report to the Rangers any constructions you have found.