A STARK warning has been issued to mountain bikers after a beauty spot – that has been the site of a major reforestation project – was vandalised.
Nikolett Jones, community fundraiser at Jersey Trees for Life, said the charity had put a lot of money and energy into the site at Mourier Valley, St Mary, which should be protected.
The charity received a number of phone calls and emails on Monday afternoon from members of the public informing them that a group of young adults with mountain bikes were damaging the trees in the valley and using the land as a bike track.
The trees were planted as part of a three-year reforestation project undertaken by the charity and the National Trust for Jersey, supported by Jersey Electricity and Jersey Water, which entered its final stage with the planting of 750 trees last month.
Mrs Jones said: ‘The message we want to get across is that it is illegal to bike on the land. We have written confirmation from the Crown that the land is dedicated to environmental projects and we have been given permission to put a sign up to warn bikers that it is illegal to cycle there.
‘We are not getting paid for planting at this site. The charity and members of the public have raised money and given up their time and energy into making this a beautiful area which has massive environmental benefits and so we need to make sure that it is protected.’
She added: ‘We want to make it clear that we are not blaming cyclists as a whole or any association and we believe this is a one-off incident involving some young adults using bikes.
‘After we were informed by the public through email and phone calls, we acted urgently and have begun repairing the trees to prevent them from dying.’
The charity informed the States police about the incident but they have decided not to make a formal complaint as they have no photographic proof of the vandalism.
Mrs Jones added that she met some local mountain bikers on Tuesday morning who told her that they had identified the culprits and given them a ‘telling off’.
‘We want the public to enjoy the area and you are allowed to walk there. However, you cannot bike there as it can ruin the land and the trees,’ she said.