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Alpine national park

Help protect the Alpine National Park from development

The Falls to Hotham Crossing is a lovely three day walk from the resort town of Falls Creek, across the Bogong High Plains, to Mt Hotham. Managed by Parks Victoria (PV), you need to book to use the designated campsites near Cope Hut and Dibbins hut. It is a hugely popular walk.

There are also plans to extend and reroute the Crossing, turning it a five day ‘serviced hiking opportunity’ in the Alpine National Park.

The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) opposes the commercial aspects of this proposal, and says There is already too much pressure on parks: invasive pests and weeds, increased bushfires and climate change impacts, and rapidly growing visitor numbers. That’s why they were set aside to protect nature in perpetuity. This insidious attempt to commercialise the Alpine National Park and compromise its carefully considered management plan must be stopped. But we need to work together if we’re going to protect our precious Alps.’

Continue reading “Help protect the Alpine National Park from development”

Is it time for the Mt Stirling Alpine Park?

There has been a long campaign for the Mt Stirling area to be managed as a national park by linking it to the Alpine National Park and handing its management to Parks Victoria. Things have been quiet on that front for a while, but now Friends of Mt Stirling (FoMS) have renewed the call to establish the Mt Stirling Alpine Park.

‘With the transition from Alpine Resort Management Boards (ARMBs) to Alpine Resorts Victoria (ARV) in October, and the development of a Masterplan for Mirimbah, we think it is a good time to re-visit the concept of the “Mount Stirling National Park”.

Continue reading “Is it time for the Mt Stirling Alpine Park?”

Falls to Hotham Crossing: Visual Impact Assessment released

The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing is a popular 3 day walk across the Bogong High Plains. It has two designated campsites that you need to book. For many years the Victorian government has been pursuing the further development of the walk, with a diversion to Mt Feathertop. This would turn it into a five-day 57-kilometre walk. Many people have expressed concern that the proposal includes a commercial aspect, with four campsites with structures included as part of the plan, which would be run by a commercial operator. PV say that ‘walkers will still be able to camp in other locations along the track and complete the crossing for free if they don’t want to use the new overnight facilities’.

Community consultation was undertaken between 2016 and 2018 to create the Master Plan. Parks Victoria have just made two announcements about the project:

  • That K2LD Architects have been appointed to create designs for the project.
  • They have also released the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment. PV say ‘This assessment is a detailed independent assessment of the visual impacts of the project on the landscape. In particular, it considers impacts of roofed accommodation’.

Continue reading “Falls to Hotham Crossing: Visual Impact Assessment released”

‘Working together to protect Taungurung country’

In 2018 the Victorian Government, the Taungurung Land and Waters Council Aboriginal Corporation (TLaWCAC), and the Taungurung Traditional Owner group signed a suite of agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic), and related legislation.

The Recognition and Settlement Agreement has now come into effect. This means that ownership of nine Victorian parks and reserves, include Mt Buffalo National Park and a section of the Alpine National Park, and up to five surplus public land parcels have been transferred to the Taungurung Traditional Owner Group.

While members of other Aboriginal groups have also claimed native title in areas covered by the agreement and said they had been excluded from the agreement, Taungurung are currently increasing their involvement in a number of aspects of land management within the parks, including Buffalo national park.

Representatives of the Ngurai Illum Wurrung, Waywurru and Dhudhuroa people were among respondents who applied for a judicial review of the agreement process (details on that case available here).

The text below comes from North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and details recent activity on the Buffalo Plateau (original release available here).

Continue reading “‘Working together to protect Taungurung country’”

Victorian feral horse plan a win for Alpine National Park

After public consultation, the Protection of the Alpine National Park – Feral Horse Action Plan 2021 has now been released. This is the Victorian Government’s new plan to ‘improve the management of feral horses and reduce the damage they cause to vulnerable natural and Aboriginal cultural values in the Alpine National Park’.

Unlike NSW, which continues to be beholden to demands from some to keep feral horses in the Snowy Mountain national park, Victoria has taken a stronger position.

Continue reading “Victorian feral horse plan a win for Alpine National Park”

What’s happening with the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing?

The Falls to Hotham Crossing is a lovely three day walk from the resort town of Falls Creek, across the Bogong High Plains, to Mt Hotham. Managed by Parks Victoria (PV), you need to book to use the designated campsites near Cope Hut and Dibbins hut. It is a hugely popular walk.

There are also plans to extend and reroute the Crossing, turning it a five day ‘serviced hiking opportunity’ in the Alpine National Park. After the finalisation of the Master Plan for the walk, the state government allocated $2 million of funds in the 2018/19 budget. Then additional funds were allocated to continue the planning for the project, including Stage 1 of the construction.

Parks Victoria say ‘The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing will be one of Australia’s outstanding alpine walking experiences that captures the essence of the Australian Alps – the solitude, the seasons, the breathtaking beauty and the stories of the High Country’. However there has been sustained opposition to the proposal because it will see development of private commercial infrastructure (including small accomodation ‘pods’) within the Alpine National Park.

PV are currently focused on completing the Environmental Values Assessment. PV say that the assessment will ‘ensure potential impacts are identified and that the appropriate avoidance and mitigation measures are put in place. The planning process is aimed at reducing current and future impacts on the values of the national park’.

Continue reading “What’s happening with the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing?”

An Icon at Risk: current and emerging threats to the Victorian Alps

Snow Gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) are the classic alpine tree of the High Country, generally growing at heights between 1,300 and 1,800 metres asl. Anyone who has visited the Australian High Country will know – and probably love – these trees.

In recent decades, wildfire has been devastating huge areas of the Snow Gum forests, with significant fires in the Victorian High Country in 1998, 2002/3, 2006/7, 2013 and 2019/20. More than 90% of Snow Gum habitat has been burnt at least once in the last 20 years.

The species can survive fire. However, climate change driven fire seasons are leading to more frequent fire, which is causing more death of trees and changes to forest structure. In some instances, localised collapse of Snow Gum woodlands is now being observed. As climate scientist Michael Mann describes it, we are now seeing climate change play out in real time.

We must ask whether we are now seeing the start of the collapse of Snow Gum woodlands, one of Victoria’s iconic vegetation communities.

Continue reading “An Icon at Risk: current and emerging threats to the Victorian Alps”
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Jaithmathang Senior Elders reconnect with their original Country

Jaithmathang Original Country elders are returning to the mountains to reconnect with their Yerto (meaning land/country high up). This story was produced by North East Catchment Management Authority and reproduced with their permission.

Jaithmathang Senior Elder, Loreman and Songman, Goengalla Jumma Myermyal Minjeke looks out over Yerto (meaning land/country high up) while standing on Mt Loch and reflects on a separation from Jaithmathang Original Country that has lasted generations. Mt Loch is within Shared Yerto of the GunaiKurnai and Jaithmathang Original Peoples’ Country. 

Continue reading “Jaithmathang Senior Elders reconnect with their original Country”

Alpine Ecology Workshop

On May 1, an alpine ecology workshop was held at Dinner Plain, which had a focus on alpine peatlands.

The day was supported by a range of groups and featured fantastic presentations from peatland experts, followed by a wander and chat through some of the peatland systems that exist in Dinner Plain. It brought together locals, people interested in alpine ecology from the broader region, and a wonderful cast of experts. One of the key messages I took from the forum was that fire is a grave short-term threat to peatlands and already impacting widely on this vegetation community.

Congratulations to Gail Owen, a Dinner Plain resident and member of the BDPO Landcare Group, High Country Landcare Facilitator Lisa Lee and NECMA Biodiversity Project Officer, Phillip Falcke, and Bev Lawrence and Aviya Naccarella from Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management for organising an excellent and informative day.

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Please provide feedback on the Feral Horse Action Plan

We know that wild horses pose a major threat to mountain environments in Australia. In the ACT there is a plan to limit horse numbers. NSW continues to be stuck in a ‘culture war’ block that has stopped meaningful action to reduce numbers. Now Parks Victoria has updated their ‘action plan’ for feral horse management in the Alpine National Park.

You can review the draft action plan and provide feedback up until April 23. Once feedback has been compiled, the final action plan will be published ‘mid year’ in 2021 and then Parks Victoria can get on with horse removal..

Continue reading “Please provide feedback on the Feral Horse Action Plan”

Logging on the Dargo High Plains part of a much bigger problem

The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest, dominated by Alpine Ash, in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, an area of state forest that lies right next to the Alpine National Park. These coupes are located in a series of clusters, where separate sections of bush will be harvested, creating a large zone of cleared land over time. One coupe has already been logged. The remaining coupes have not yet been scheduled for harvesting, and are yet to be surveyed. There is still time to stop this ecological disaster – if we act now.

The Little Dargo is roughly 15 kilometres south of the Mt Hotham ski resort in the mountains of north eastern Victoria. Background on the logging can be found here.

Continue reading “Logging on the Dargo High Plains part of a much bigger problem”

Parks Victoria releases feral horse action plan for comment

Parks Victoria (PV) have released an updated draft action plan outlining feral horse management intentions over the next ten years.

You have until Friday 23 April to provide comment on the plan.

Continue reading “Parks Victoria releases feral horse action plan for comment”

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