Two months ago, hundreds of trees and other branches were blown down, causing damage to unique visitor infrastructure and dumping large amounts of debris in Victorian parks like the Dandenong Ranges. Rangers removed and repaired many kilometers of damage caused to Parks Victoria sites, the park announced.
Their tireless work, which included damage assessments, clearing tracks, fence line clearance, and safety works like handrail replacement, has resulted in positive and continuing progress since the June 9th storm. However, many parks, walking tracks, and trails remain closed for public safety.
“Please be aware of signage and avoid areas that are fenced off or closed as our rangers attempt to eliminate complex dangers. Do not put yourself at risk of serious injury, death, or putting at risk emergency responders who will need to rescue you,” the announcement added.
William Ricketts Sanctuary in the Dandenong Ranges National Park and the popular 1000 Steps were two of the most severely affected sites. They remain closed.
Large eucalyptus trees and mountain ash trees have caused extensive damage to William Ricketts Sanctuary’s unique clay sculptures. Public toilets, the original residence, Stone Studio, Kiln, and fencing as well as pathways and handrails have all been damaged.
The Sanctuary will remain closed while Parks Victoria crews complete the necessary work to make it safe. However, the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden – which is home to 15,000 rhododendrons and 12,000 azaleas as well as 3,000 camellias and 250,000 daffodils in the spring and summer seasons – is open.
The rangers were able to clear more than 100 kilometers of roads, walking trails, and picnic areas in the Dandenong and Yarra Ranges Districts with the help of DELWP crews. Popular sites like the 1000 Steps and Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve, along with the Olinda Falls Picnic Grounds were so damaged that rangers will need to take a few months more to clear them. Additional time is required for repairs.
Moreover, the internal tracks west of Monbulk Road in Sherbrooke Forest are still closed.
Ongoing tree fall, unstable ground conditions, and damage to popular visitor areas will require long-term planning and works for the Macedon Ranges and Lerderderg State Park. Morwell National Park will execute partial re-opening by late August while Kinglake National Park will re-open late October.