As has been reported on Mountain Journal many times, a precious remnant of unburnt forest on the eastern side of the Dargo High Plains is in imminent danger of being logged. What makes this place so special is that it sits within the headwaters of the upper Little Dargo River and is completely free of roads. It has survived recent fires in the area, but will be devastated by the plan to cut 11 coupes within the upper valley. This could happen as soon as spring 2022.
A spirited campaign by locals and environmental campaigners has seen the state’s logging agency (VicForests) announce that it will not proceed with controversial plans to push a logging road through a section of the Alpine national park. Now the call is focusing on getting the remaining coupes removed from the logging schedule.
This is an unusual campaign because it draws together a mountain grazing family with environmental campaigners. The Treasure family have grazed cattle on the Dargo High Plains and surrounding areas for five generations. Christa Treasure talks about the historical and cultural significance of the area to her and the Treasure family and how logging will devastate this history.
Christa (pictured here with Ray Anderson) says:
“Our aim is to stop the devastation by VicForests of the Little Dargo River Catchment. In this beautiful valley is one of the last stands of old alpine ash in the Timber Release Plan (TRP).
“The family has conserved this area for the last 140 years, it is our homeland.
“Emily and George Treasure ran a store and a post office here and had 3,000 miners on their books.
“The Valley has been untouched by fire since 1921 and recently fire dribbled over the edge of the Long Spur, only in a few places. The Valley has been untouched and creatures undisturbed since the mining days except for the few stockmen on horses using it as a short cut to the Long Spur and Shepherds Plain to muster and take cattle up to the Omeo Plain paddock.
“The Mailmen’s Track crosses the Little Dargo River in steep and isolated terrain. It was put in to have a safer track below the snowline for the mailmen on horseback delivering mail from Harrietville across the Dargo High Plains to the mining town of Grant.
“The Government must take the logging coupes in the Little Dargo River off the TRP. This valley is pristine and staggeringly beautiful”.
ABOVE: the start of the Mailmen’s track, heading towards the Little Dargo river.
In the autumn of 2022, a section of the old Mailmen’s Track was recut so groups could reach Fred’s Flat and the Little Dargo River. Friends of the Earth hosted a walk in to the river which allowed the first group to get into the headwaters of the river since the early 1900s.
Find out more and take action here
On facebook you can join the Save the Little Dargo River group for more information and updates on the campaign.
There is additional information on why the Little Dargo should be protected here.
There is a petition here.
This story was originally published in the 2022 edition of Mountain Journal magazine.