Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Chainsaw wielding vandals attack Triplet Fall.

  1. Geelong Advertiser
  2. Warrnambool Standard
  3. ABC Radio

Geelong Advertiser


OTWAYS tourist icon Triplet Falls remains closed this weekend while police
and forestry officials investigate Wednesday night's chainsaw attacks on
more than 70 trees.

The mature gums were damaged the night before a meeting in Colac of groups opposed to the State Government's plans to extend the Otway Ranges National Park.

But an organiser of the Colac anti-park meeting, Peter Dynes, yesterday
distanced the coalition of groups from the attack.
``What happened was very, very counter-productive,'' Mr Dynes said.
He blamed whoever carried out a chainsaw attack at Apollo Bay for the damage.
". . . it definitely wasn't anyone I know.
"I don't see how Triplet Falls has got anything to do with us. Just
because they can start a chainsaw doesn't mean it was a logger.''

Premier Steve Bracks used Triplet Falls as a backdrop for his November
pre-election pledge to expand the park and end logging in Otways native
forests by 2008.

Department of Sustainability and Environment southwest region manager Ian Voigt said more than 70 trees along the walking track to Triplet Falls,
including 35 mature mountain ash trees, had been cut.
He said an arborist assessed the damage but the popular tourist spot would remain closed until the area was safe.

"This damage has the potential to cause a major environmental impact on the site and dramatically affect the renowned beauty and charming nature of the waterfall,'' Mr Voigt said.

"This is a senseless act and I'm sure the local community will feel deeply
hurt by the vandalism.''

A pair of 200-year-old trees were among those damaged.

Otway Ranges Environment Network spokesman Simon Birrell said he was
"disgusted'' by the vandalism, which coincided with the anniversary of a
chainsaw attack on power poles causing a blackout in Apollo Bay during the town's 2000 music festival.

Warrnambool Standard

Falls access closed after tree attack
March 21, 2003

VANDALISM has forced the closure of the popular Triplet Falls walk in the Otway State Forest, where 50 partly cut trees are posing a safety hazard.
The popular tourist attraction has been rendered potentially life-threatening with 50 large trees cut but left standing. In addition, one large mountain ash tree has been cut down, blocking access to the falls car park.

Department of Primary Industries staff discovered the damage at lunch time on Wednesday, Otway State Forest manager Peter Tange said yesterday. The department closed the site due to the risk.

" It is distressing to see that people could place the lives of others at risk in a deliberate manner," Mr Tange said.

" We believe the vandals struck at some time on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning this week "The trees that have been cut are large trees, mainly mountain ash, and they are immediately along the track."
Sergeant John Postma of Colac CIU said the trees had been cut using a chainsaw and a sign which read "No Parks" had been displayed on one of the trees.

" I don't know exactly how many have been cut because I'm not going in to find out. If you cut a tree half way through the diameter it can fall in any direction so it could be very dangerous," Sergeant Postma said.
" I'm not going to say who I believe is responsible. If you are going to talk about sides then it could be either trying to discredit the other, or it could be someone not connected to either side."

He said the people found responsible could expect to be charged with committing criminal damage and conduct endangering life. Both offences can attract jail terms if proven.

Mr Tange said the department had arranged for a qualified arborist to assess the damaged trees and to advise how the public risk could be removed.

He said the arborist would assess the site today and the area would remain closed to the public until the risk had been eliminated.

Otway Ranges Environment Network spokesman Simon Birrell yesterday labelled the act "disgusting".

Colac CIU is investigating and those who may have information relating to the vandalism are encouraged to contact them or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
- Report: EVE LAMB

ABC Radio

Police probe tree vandalism

Police are appealing for information about the malicious damage to a popular tourist attraction in the Otways in western Victoria.

Triplet Falls has been closed after someone used a chainsaw to cut through more than 30 trees.

Most of the trees are still standing, making the area dangerous, while a large mountain ash has been cut down and is blocking access to the car park.

The Department of Primary Industries' Otways forest manager, Peter Tange, says the damage will have a huge impact on the area.

"In particular from the public safety aspect, that's why we've closed the site, also because this may have a large impact on the site in the future, depending on what needs to happen to those trees that have been damaged," he said.

"If those trees have to be removed it will be how we can remove those without damaging the infrastructure that's already present at Triplet Falls."


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