Motorbikes banned from Benarca and parts of Moira State Forests to protect environment

Motorbikes are to banned at all times from entering Benarca StateForest west of Moama and part of Moira State Forest, locally known as ‘The Plantation’ or the ‘Barmah Sandhills’, due to severe environmental degradation.

State Forests will introduce the ban on Friday 9 April and signs are being erected at the major entrances to these areas to advise the public.

The ban will be enforced by State Forests’ forest patrols with assistance from the local NSW police.

State Forests forest manager based at Deniliquin, Gary Rodda, said that the ban had been introduced because of the severe environmental degradation occurring on sandhills and in the forest generally due to motorbike use.

“The motorbikes also spread noxious weeds such as spiny burr grass, which gets caught in tyres,” he said.

”State Forests has also received numerous complaints from neighbours regarding motor bike noise caused by high usage in small forest areas in close proximity to houses.

“These sandhill areas are usually covered with dry grass during summer and there is a high risk of motorbike’s exhausts starting fires.”

Mr Rodda said that, despite several years of State Forests trying to educate the public through regular forest patrols together with police assistance where necessary, there had been no reduction in motorbike activity.

He said this meant the only practical option available to State Forests was to introduce the bans to protect and improve the sandhill areas within the forest.

“A lot of work and money has gone into re-establishing degraded sandhills within State forests with native grasses and shrubs to increase the diversity of native flora and fauna. It would be a great pity if this work was destroyed by a few individuals.”

”The banned areas represent less than one per cent of the central Murray forest area. Responsible motorbike riders who are licensed and ride registered bikes are still welcome to use the remaining areas of forests, as long as they stay on the formed forest roads.

”There are plenty of enjoyable riding areas available in the remainder of Moira State Forest and Perricoota State Forest to the west of Benarca State Forest,” Mr Rodda said.

The public is reminded that all unregistered vehicles such as dune buggies are banned at all times in State forests.

Media contact: Gary Rodda on (03) 5881 2266.