EPA response to complaints in closed State Forests
NSW State Forests are sometimes lawfully closed for a range of reasons, especially safety concerns.
Entering closed State Forests is illegal
A closed State Forest is a forest that has been closed to ensure the safety of the general public during forestry operations, wet weather, bushfires or maintenance work. It is illegal to enter a closed forest and trespassers may commit an offence.
State Forests open or closed status can be found on the Forestry Corporation – Closures and notices website.
From time to time, we receive complaints from the community about forestry operations in closed State Forests. Sometimes these complaints contain information that was gathered unlawfully as a result of trespassing in a closed State Forest. Such information cannot be used by the EPA in legal proceedings. Accordingly, we must conduct our own independent inquiries to determine whether there has been a breach of the forestry legislation.
EPA’s powers of entry to closed State Forests
We have a comprehensive pro-active inspection program in place to monitor and enforce compliance with native forestry laws in State Forests. Our forestry regulatory activities are published on our register of Crown forestry investigations.
The EPA’s authorised officers can enter closed State Forests using their statutory powers to monitor and enforce compliance with forestry legislation.
Authorised officers have extensive powers to enter State Forests and undertake regulatory activities. The powers enable authorised officers to:
- enter land
- collect information
- take recordings, samples and photographs
- require the production of information
- seize things.
These powers enable us to collect evidence lawfully, and therefore may be used in legal proceedings.