SENSELESS vandals have wreaked havoc at one of Griffith's most picturesque natural treasures, ruining a facility built by a local community group.
The previously dry Campbell Swamp at Lake Wyangan is brimming with water and teeming with wildlife for the first time since the drought officially broke last year.
But avid birdwatcher and nature photographer Steve Dew was dismayed this week to find the boardwalk and bird hide at the swamp built by the Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists (MFN) had been badly damaged by vandals.
Mr Dew found on Tuesday that the railing on the boardwalk had been snapped and thrown into the water and the bird hide was littered with broken bottles.
A similar structure, which was used by birdwatchers to observe wildlife, was built at Nericon in 2000, but was burnt down by vandals.
"I noticed there had been motorbikes in the car park and when I saw all the smashed boards I thought the bird hide would have been burnt down like the one at Nericon," Mr Dew said.
"I understand that kids need somewhere to go, but if they keep coming here and smashing the place up, it'll get locked up and no-one will be able to get in here."
Mr Dew said he had observed many rare species of waterbirds at the lake, including the musk duck and blue bill duck, as well as swans, pelicans and birds of prey.
"It is a community facility and I would like people to be more aware of what is here," he said.
"But don't come and break things or hurt the animals or the birds."
The facility was built in 2002 after the MFN received a grant from the Natural Heritage Trust, which the group also used to plant trees and put in two car parks.
MFN vice-president Bill Moller said the spot was popular among members of his group, but vandalism was rife.
"This is not the first time I know this has happened in the past but for groups like ours it's pretty hard to keep up with it, we just don't have the funds," Mr Moller said.
"Some people have been riding motorbikes and that doesn't help the birds the swamp has been dry for a while but now it is an important breeding area.
"It's pretty ordinary."