Fifteen years of regeneration in the Lower Cotter Catchment has been flattened by a four-wheel drive vehicle in one of the worst acts of wanton vandalism ACT Parks and Conservation has ever seen.
The area was devastated in the 2003 bushfires but has been regenerating with extensive tree planting but this half hectare site off Laurel Camp Road in Pierces Creek forest now looks like a cyclone has ripped through it.
ACT Policing is now investigating the vandalism in which regenerating native trees and shrubs were deliberately and methodically driven over, giving rangers the impression the offender was trying to clear the site.
ACT Parks rangers came across the damage at about 2 pm on Saturday 23 March and the vandalism is thought to have occurred last Friday and Saturday morning.
A Parks spokesperson said the site would be protected from further 4WD activity using rocks and logs to ensure the native vegetation and species were able to recover.
The maximum penalty for damaging a native tree (over two metres high) on unleased land is a $64,000. In addition to the penalty, a court may also make an order for the responsible person to pay the Territory the cost of making good the damage.
As well as police investigating, Parks has posted images on Facebook and calling for anyone with any information to contact the agency or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at https://act.crimestoppers.com.au/.