Parks Victoria issue reminder for seasonal road closures from Tuesday 11 June

Road closures will be enforced over the winter months. Picture: JACQUE QUAINE

To protect parks and forests from damage during Victoria’s wet and snow seasons, temporary road and track closures will come into effect on 11 June, following the King’s Birthday long weekend.

Parks Victoria, the Conservation Regulator, and Forest Fire Management Victoria enforce seasonal closures between June and November every year when sensitive environments including waterways, cultural heritage and public access tracks are most vulnerable to damage.

Senior Manager of Enforcement at Parks Victoria Mark Breguet said from replacing broken locks, gates, chains and fencing to repairing damage to roads, tracks, and drainage – the cost of seasonal road closure breaches is significant.

“Ignorance is no excuse. We ask drivers and riders to take the time to understand and respect seasonal road closures across Victoria,” he said.

These measures also safeguard critical road infrastructure used by firefighters during summer emergencies and protect motorists from accidents on remote roads softened by heavy rain or snow.

Authorised Officers will be educating visitors about the upcoming changes in busy parks and forests during the King’s Birthday long weekend, followed by increased patrols and surveillance over the 2024 closure period.

Acting Director of Regulatory Operations at the Conservation Regulator Cal Heppell said driving in our state forests can be fun, but it can also be extremely destructive when done illegally and irresponsibly. “Following vehicle rules and staying off closed roads on public land helps to maintain healthy forests that will benefit everyone now and into the future,” he said.

Last year, public land authorities recorded more than 380 breaches of gates or closed roads and 800 instances of illegal vehicle use across Victoria’s parks and forests. Authorised Officers issued 181 infringements totalling more than $60,000 to people caught driving cars or riding trail bikes illegally off-road or in restricted areas.

Offenders caught driving or riding on a closed road in Victoria’s parks and forests face a maximum penalty of up to $3,846 if prosecuted in court.

Local conditions and weather can affect the timing and locations of road closures. If you are heading out for a drive or trail bike ride on public land, please take care by planning your trip and seeing which roads are open and suitable for your vehicle before leaving home. You can find closures information for state and national parks here and state forests here.

You are also encouraged to check the weather forecast before you go and download the VicEmergency app for emergency information, including severe weather alerts and warnings.

Chief Fire Officer at Forest Fire Management Victoria Chris Hardman said they want you to enjoy your visit to the forests over winter, but ask visitors to please respect road closures.

“They are closed to protect the environment or because winter conditions make them unsafe for you or emergency services should you fall or have an accident.”

The public can help protect sensitive environments by reporting any illegal vehicle use on public land to 136 186.