Nature based tourism is an enormous part of the economy of many regional centres. Skiing, mountain bike riding, bushwalking, bird watching, camping, paddling, trail running all provide a growing part of the local economies of towns across the country where there are public lands with opportunity for adventure.
Sadly, logging and destructive land activities impact on many areas. The fact is that people don’t want to walk or ride through a logging coupe or open cut. But logging currently threatens a number of important nature and outdoor tourism activity.
1/ The Maydena Bike Park in north eastern lutruwita/ Tasmania, will host the opening round of the Enduro World Series in late March. The Maydena facility is arguably Australia’s best “gravity” park. However, logging in close proximity to the tourism hotspot remains a controversial issue.
Mr French is the managing director of Maydena Bike Park, which has a network of almost 100 trails that snake through the forest near planned logging coupes.
“We shuttle tens of thousands of guests each year up this road to the top of the hill and the coupe is directly behind us,” Mr French said.
“The current proposal is to log right up to the side of the road here.”
Sadly, there is a similar problem on the iconic MTB tracks of Mt Buller resort in the Victorian high country, where logging is planned along a section of the Australian Alpine Epic route.
2/ Mt Buller and Mt Stirling are famous for the fantastic bike trails that exist on both mountains. The Australian Alpine Epic route is described as ‘one of only a handful of IMBA Epic accredited trails in the world, the Australian Alpine Epic is a unique, tough and exhilarating journey’. It climbs onto Mt Stirling from the Delatite Valley before heading north past Mt Winstanley.
Sadly, now sections of the Epic ride will be directly impacted by logging operations on Mt Stirling – unless we stop it.
A large area around Mt Stirling is expected to be clear fell logged soon, including several coupes that will directly impact the Alpine Epic ride.
3/ the Australian Alps Walking Track. Victoria’s highest mountain, Bogong (Warkwoolowler in the Waywurru and Dhudhuroa languages) is protected in the Alpine National Park. It sits high above the town of Mount Beauty and is a drawcard for hikers, skiers and backcountry snowboarders.
Most people approach the mountain from the Ovens Valley or across the Bogong High Plains. There is another route on the eastern side, following the appropriately named Long Spur to Mt Wills. This is all high elevation woodland and forests, and is the route by which the famous Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) leaves Bogong as it heads towards the Snowy Mountains. The 700 km long AAWT crosses the Alps from Walhalla to the outskirts of Canberra, and follows Long Spur from Bogong to Mt Wills before turning south and dropping into the valley of the Mitta Mitta River.
Mt Wills itself is a magical ‘island in the sky’ of isolated snow gum woodland, largely dominated by older trees. While it is connected by the long and high ridge back to Bogong, mostly the land around the mountain falls away to deep river valleys and forests that are initially dominated by Alpine Ash.
Now logging threatens the area between Bogong and Mt Wills.
There are four coupes in total planned for the Long Spur area:
- three where the AAWT starts the climb up into the intact snow gum woodlands of Mt Wills and
- one closer to Bogong itself. This last one is a worry because it is in the headwater area of the Big (Mitta Mitta) River, which flows from a valley between Mt Bogong and the Bogong High Plains. The Mitta is one of the most important rivers in the state and feeds the Dartmouth Dam, and then the Murray River.
You can find out more about this proposed logging here.
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