The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing is a proposed 57 kilometre walk through the Alpine region of Victoria, combining and upgrading an existing track network. The final walk will be a 5-day 4-night hiking trip from Falls Creek to Mount Hotham. It has been strongly opposed by many environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts because the campsites will be privately operated and many people oppose further development within national parks. Check here for a previous mountain journal story outlining concerns about the proposal.
There was a feedback process on the draft designs. More than 6,000 people visited the Engage Victoria page on the project, more than 60 people joined conversations at ‘pop-up’ sessions in local towns, and more than 640 responses were contributed via survey, submissions and email. As expected, the majority of respondents expressed serious concerns about the proposal and many want it cancelled.
Parks Victoria (PV) has released a report summarising the feedback received. PV says ‘through consultation we heard: project concerns, what people liked about the designs and ways they would improve them’. There was widespread vocal opposition to the whole proposal.
Visit Engage Victoria to read the full report or a shorter summary of the key findings.
Following feedback received, Parks Victoria is:
- Reducing the number of huts and tent platforms proposed at each site
- Reducing the size of the communal shelters proposed
- Considering an operational model that invites Licensed Tour Operators as well as private bookings to keep cost options for hikers as low as possible.
Parks Victoria will continue to:
- Undertake relevant environmental studies and approvals
- Work together with Traditional Owners on the project, and undertake relevant Cultural Heritage Management Plans.
As noted in the report,
‘Many participants used the opportunity to comment on draft designs to express their opposition to the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing project overall.
There were high levels of concern raised from participants about the project. These concerns related to potential impacts on the environment, the project not aligning with the purpose of national parks, over-visitation, concerns about the community consultation process, the potential cost to stay in the huts, the accuracy of economic information in the Business Case, and safety concerns of attracting less experienced hikers to the area.
‘Participants shared feedback on what they thought should be improved about the draft design for Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing. In order of most to least frequently raised, people’s suggested improvements were: reduce the number of huts, condense them closer together or into less buildings, reduce the size of the communal shelter, remove huts from the project altogether, improve the trail alignment, and provide more information as part of the community engagement process’.
PV will share updated designs later in 2023.
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