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Dargo High Plains

Walk to the Little Dargo, November 2022

The fires of 2019/20 burnt huge areas of north eastern Victoria. The remaining unburnt forests are more important than ever. One of these areas lies in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, just south of Mt Hotham. It is a pristine area, without roads, and containing mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash. It is an area of state forest that lies right next to the Alpine National Park.

The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest in the upper Little Dargo River, possibly starting in the spring of 2022 once the roads are opened after winter. 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. Extensive roading networks will be needed to access the coupes.

Despite a strong community campaign, as of September 2022, the coupes remain on the VicForests Timber Release Plan, meaning they could be scheduled for logging at any moment. We do, however note that the planned logging road through the Alpine National Park has now been removed from the plan.

If you missed our previous trip to visit the Little Dargo, you have another chance to see this special place.

In conjunction with the Treasure family, we are hosting a walk in to the valley over the weekend of November 19 and 20. You are welcome to arrive on the saturday, and the walk will happen on the sunday.

This free trip will offer:

  • A shorter ( 2 – 3 hour) walk in to the edge of the Little Dargo headwaters
  • A longer (5 – 6 hour) walk into Fred’s Flat on the Little Dargo river
  • A chance to hear from Christa Treasure and Ray Anderson about the cultural value of the Little Dargo and surrounding area
  • The opportunity to help set up a potential base camp should the government continue with plans to log this precious area and protest becomes necessary

We will also be educating people driving through the area about the threats to the Little Dargo and looking for a team to be out on the Dargo High Plains road to engage with people driving past to explain the threat posed by logging.

Details

The Dargo High Plains is about a 6 hour drive from Melbourne, and accessed via a good 2WD road from either the Great Alpine Road or the township of Dargo.

You will need to be self sufficient in terms of food and camping gear and have suitable gear for the walks (we will circulate a list prior to the trip).

Please rsvp here so we know how many people to expect.

WHEN

November 20, 2022 at 8:30am – 2:30pm

WHERE

Dargo High Plains
Dargo High Plains road
Dargo High Plains, VIC 3862
Australia
Google map and directions

P1040195
CONTACT

Cam Walker · cam.walker@foe.org.au · 0419338047

After two mild summers, burnt snow gum forests are recovering.

Over the past couple of years, various people have been tracking the localised loss of snow gums in the Victorian high country due to more frequent and intense fires. We know that snow gums are, like many Australian trees, fire adapted. But we also know that they enjoy a decent gap between fires and that with climate change already increasing the frequency and intensity of fires, that we are starting to see localised loss (‘collapse’) of these woodland communities.

Given my connection to the Mt Hotham/ Dinner Plain/ Dargo High Plains area, initial investigations started there. Sadly, there is no shortage of localised collapse in that area, where repeat fires have killed off both parent trees and seedling regrowth. But through advertising via Mountain Journal and the Snow Gum citizen science facebook page, we started to get reports from across the Victorian Alps, from Mt Clear in the ranges south west of Howitt to Mt Pinnibar, in the far north east of the state. Thanks to everyone who contributed content.

Having greater numbers of people looking has given a wider sense of where loss is happening. But it has also given us an understanding that, in many areas, the trees are now starting to come back.

This is wonderful news.

Continue reading “After two mild summers, burnt snow gum forests are recovering.”

Christa Treasure speaks out on the need to protect the Little Dargo

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.

Continue reading “Christa Treasure speaks out on the need to protect the Little Dargo”

High Country logging unites graziers, green groups in effort to save Little Dargo River

The unburnt areas of the Victorian high country are increasingly rare and incredibly precious.

One of these areas lies in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, just south of Mt Hotham. It is a pristine area, without roads, and containing mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash.

The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes,” or sections, of mature forest in the upper Little Dargo River, probably this spring.

This morning, ABC Radio National described the alliance that has formed to protect the Little Dargo River and surrounding areas.

Continue reading “High Country logging unites graziers, green groups in effort to save Little Dargo River”

More mountain forests at risk from logging

In February 2022, VicForests released its proposed 2022 Timber Release Plan (TRP). The TRP outlines the forest areas it intends to log. Community groups are able to submit submissions to the process, but TRPs are generally then ‘rubber stamped’ despite calls for specific high conservation areas to be protected. The comment period for the TRP has now closed.

While there were very significant forests in the Central Highlands and South Gippsland scheduled for logging (such as at Tanglefoot picnic ground in Toolangi, the Wallaby catchment in the Kinglake National Park, Snobs Creek Valley, a large coupe near Noojee, and 14 coupes between Cambarville and Matlock), there are also a number of areas proposed for logging in the high country.

Continue reading “More mountain forests at risk from logging”

There is still time to protect the Little Dargo

The fires of 2019/20 burnt huge areas of north eastern Victoria. The remaining unburnt forests are more important than ever. One of these areas lies in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, just south of Mt Hotham. It is a pristine area, without roads, and containing mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash. It is an area of state forest that lies right next to the Alpine National Park.

The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest in the upper Little Dargo River, probably this spring. 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. Extensive roading networks will be needed to access the coupes.

One coupe has already been logged. The remaining coupes have not yet been scheduled for harvesting. There is still time to stop this ecological disaster – if we act now.

Continue reading “There is still time to protect the Little Dargo”

The Little Dargo: a pristine catchment threatened by logging

The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash, in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River. This area of state forest in north east Victoria  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.

This area is especially important because the upper catchment of the Little Dargo is in a pristine condition, without roads. It has not been burnt in recent decades, whereas much of the surrounding area has been devastated by repeat fires.

At this point it is very difficult to get in to the upper Little Dargo catchment. However, a rough route has recently been opened into the area to allow visitors to see the area before logging starts.

Continue reading “The Little Dargo: a pristine catchment threatened by logging”

Documenting loss of Snow Gums in the VIC Alps

The recent The IPCC WGII Sixth Assessment Report included details about the threat posed by climate change to Snow Gum woodlands (story here). Mountain Journal has been recording the local loss of Snow Gum woodlands across the Australian high country for several years now.

In a welcome sign, the last two summers have been mild and wet, and this has led to reseeding in some previously burnt areas of Snow Gums after years of no growth. However almost every trip to the higher mountains reveals new areas that have been burnt to the point of ecological collapse.

Continue reading “Documenting loss of Snow Gums in the VIC Alps”

Guided walk to the Little Dargo River

The fires of 2019/20 burnt huge areas of north eastern Victoria. The remaining unburnt forests are more important than ever. One of these areas lies in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, just south of Mt Hotham. It is a pristine area, without roads, and containing mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash. It is an area of state forest that lies right next to the Alpine National Park.

The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest in the upper Little Dargo River, probably this spring. 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. Extensive roading networks will be needed to access the coupes.

One coupe has already been logged. The remaining coupes have not yet been scheduled for harvesting. There is still time to stop this ecological disaster – if we act now.

Join us for a walk to experience the beauty that is the Little Dargo.

Sunday April 24, 10 am – 3pm.

Continue reading “Guided walk to the Little Dargo River”

Pristine catchment in VIC Alps to be logged

The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash, in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River. This area of state forest in north east Victoria  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.

This area is especially important because the upper catchment of the Little Dargo is in a pristine condition, without roads. It has not been burnt in recent decades, whereas much of the surrounding area has been devastated by repeat fires.

Continue reading “Pristine catchment in VIC Alps to be logged”

‘Citizen science’ field trip investigates loss of Snow Gums

Friends of the Earth recently held its first citizen science fieldtrip to map areas of Snow Gum forests in the Victorian mountains. These forests are largely protected in national parks but are threatened by climate driven fire regimes and dieback, which is caused by a native beetle.

We checked sites on the northern end of the Dargo High Plains, which is roughly south of the Hotham ski resort. We visited areas that have been burnt multiple times in recent years. This has resulted in the death of many parent trees, and then loss of the seedlings and resprouting that happened after the first fire. We were pleased to see that, after two mild and wet summers, seedlings have finally started to grow in sections of these burnt forests.

While these forests will recover from fire, climate change is making fires more frequent and this is leading to local loss of Snow Gum woodlands.

Continue reading “‘Citizen science’ field trip investigates loss of Snow Gums”

The strange land of 12 Mile Hill

The Dargo High Plains, in Victoria’s High Country, and surrounding ranges are facing an onslaught of logging activity. It is well beyond the sealed road network and out of sight for most people. Lisa Roberts reports on a recent trip to this remote mountain country.

‘We watched the mist come out of the forest over the hill and race across the cleared smashed country and fall when it reached the trees on the other side. Up here, the trees call in the clouds and the clouds drop into the trees and this is where the water comes from’.

Continue reading “The strange land of 12 Mile Hill”

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