A walk, jog or cycle through Emerald’s Rifle Range Reserve is idyllic but unlawful behaviour is threatening to spoil the experience at one of Emerald’s most loved spots.
Despite signage and fencing, people are illegally riding off-road bikes through the 80–hectare reserve and Councillor Megan Daniels is worried the behaviour will impact plants and wildlife and damage the five signed walking tracks that wind their way through the reserve.
‘This is a wonderful natural space and it’s right in the centre of town. We’re so fortunate to have it and we want to preserve it for people’s enjoyment and as a space for wildlife to live.
‘Council has already taken steps to prevent unlawful use of the reserve – fencing the area to prevent motorbike access and installing signage to remind people that motorbike riding is illegal.
‘We now need the community’s help to stop this practice.
‘If you do see motorbikes in the reserve, don’t approach people directly, rather, report the behaviour by calling Policelink on 13 14 44.
Officer-in-charge of Emerald Police Station, Senior Sergeant Peter McFarlane said Emerald Police are happy to join forces with council to protect such a great community asset.
‘Our main concern is for the safety of the community who are walking and riding on bicycles with young children through the reserve. Motorbikes pose a real risk to the safety of people utilising this resource.
‘People riding motor bikes through this area can expect to be prosecuted for trespass offences. People caught vandalising council property including signs, fences etc. can be prosecuted for wilful damage offences, which have hefty penalties.
‘We need to protect the work council has done and, more importantly, protect the safety of people using this area.’