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NPAACT Home > News Items > Six horse riders penalised for riding illegally in Kosciuszko National Park

Six horse riders penalised for riding illegally in Kosciuszko National Park


August 28, 2006

A group of six horse riders has been penalised more than a combined total of $8000 in the Cooma Local Court after being caught riding illegally on the Main Range in Kosciuszko National Park last year.

All six riders were charged with causing damage to vegetation in the park and riding in an area where horse riding was not permitted.

In court the riders were fined $200 each for riding a horse in an area where horse riding was prohibited. Acknowledging the impact the horses had on the sensitive alpine environment, the Court fined the riders a further $600 each for damage to vegetation. Each rider was also ordered to pay $600 towards the DEC’s costs.

The group was observed on February 18, 2005, by staff from the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) who were carrying out survey work in a helicopter near a site on the Main range above the tree line known as Granite Peaks. Each rider was spotted riding a horse and leading a pack horse, heading north, through sensitive bog and fen vegetation and rehabilitation works.

DEC staff in the helicopter landed with the intention of speaking to the riders but they evaded staff before splitting into two groups.

After picking up a ranger and police constable the helicopter later intercepted one group of three riders. The court heard that all three riders tried to avoid being questioned and when finally approached gave false names and addresses.

DEC Director General, Lisa Corbyn, said today that the group was caught red handed riding illegally in the park.

“These men not only tried to evade being questioned, they were riding in an area where horse riding is not permitted and were seen moving through areas which were the focus of important post-fire rehabilitation projects at Granite Peaks and the Rolling Grounds.

“Horse riding is permitted in more than 100,000 hectares of Kosciuszko National Park and it was completely unnecessary for them to be riding in the alpine area of the Main Range.

“As most people know, Kosciuszko National Park experienced one of the most severe bushfires ever recorded in modern times in 2003.

“Since then staff have been undertaking important rehabilitation works to restore areas that were severely burnt. Public access to some areas of the alpine area have been restricted to avoid causing serious soil erosion.

“The Park’s Plan of Management is quite explicit on horse riding within the park. It is not permitted in certain areas of the Park, such as where these riders were caught, because of the potential damage to what is a delicate and sensitive alpine environment. The community has for many years been supportive of the need to maintain this area free from recreational horse riding.

“The penalties handed to these people today should serve as a clear message that the community will not tolerate horse riding in Kosciuszko National Park where it is not permitted,” Ms Corbyn said.

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