Vandals have illegally chopped down five 100-year-old native trees in Lerderderg State Park, about an hour’s drive north of Melbourne.
A chainsaw was used to fell the trees, which were at the perimeter of a new campsite at the reserve, between December 3 and December 4.
Parks Victoria district manager Tony English said the trees were stringybarks and grey-gums, some of which were more than 100 years old.
“We see a lot of things going on in our parks, but this is a senseless act we are struggling to understand,” he told radio station 3AW.
“They simply went around the park chopping the largest trees they could see.”
He said such senseless vandalism was quite rare, and whenever trees were illegally felled it was usually for firewood, but in this case the trees were left behind.
The trees were at the lower camping area at Lerderderg Camp Ground on Upper Chadwick Track.
Mr English said the trees surrounded a new campsite, which rangers had worked hard to prepare in time for this summer’s campers.
In addition to felling the trees, the vandals also pilfered a new fire pit, along with a steel plaque that read: ‘Parks Victoria Lerderderg State Park’.
“They were trees in a beautiful location we were hoping the public could continue to enjoy,” he said.
Mr English said four to six people would have been the culprits.
Police are urging anyone who heard or saw anything suspicious in the area between December 3 and December 4 to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 00.
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