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Dinner Plain

VIC backcountry festival happening this weekend!

After two years of cancellations due to covid restrictions, the stoke is building for the 2022 Victorian backcountry festival, which will happen over three days – September 2, 3 and 4 – at Mt Hotham resort and the surrounding terrain.

While the tours are now booked out (you can go on a wait list), there is still heaps to do.

Continue reading “VIC backcountry festival happening this weekend!”

Local gear stores. If we don’t love them, we’ll lose them

We know that lockdowns and covid has been hard on all mountain businesses. Now, many are struggling to find enough staff as Australians head to the snow in droves. The rise in interest in backcountry skiing and riding was certainly good for some businesses through the hard winters of 2020 and 2021, and this year is providing a welcome boost. But, faced with the rise in online shopping and the buying power and reach of large chain stores, it’s remarkable that there are still so many locally owned outdoor gear shops in and around the Australian Mountains.

Here are a few of them. If we don’t support them, we will lose them. And as we know, all these places offer local knowledge in a way that online stores can’t.

Continue reading “Local gear stores. If we don’t love them, we’ll lose them”

‘We all have a passion for the snow, and we want to give back and protect our mountain community’.

Across the Alpine areas, volunteer and career firefighters protect the mountains from fire. There are volunteer brigades in resort towns like Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Buller. Crews employed through Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) manage fires on public lands. Firefighting in alpine environments can bring particular challenges, where summer landscape scale fires alternate with fighting fire in snow covered villages of often closely packed buildings.

This story is from Bec Roberts, who is the the 2nd lieutenant of the Mount Hotham – Dinner Plain Fire Brigade.

Continue reading “‘We all have a passion for the snow, and we want to give back and protect our mountain community’.”

Another year. Still no national air fleet.

Aerial firefighting capacity – planes and helicopters – are an essential component of Australia’s ability to respond to bushfires. This was demonstrated in the 2019-2020 bushfire season, when an unprecedented use of aircraft occurred. This summer was mild in the east but Western Australia saw months of terrible fires.

Australia has a nationally co-ordinated fleet of about 150 planes and helicopters in an average fire season (with up to 500 aircraft available on call when needed). These are used for firefighting, winching fire crews into remote areas, intelligence gathering and guiding larger aircraft in their operations (called Air Attack Supervision).

Continue reading “Another year. Still no national air fleet.”

Snow Gum citizen science field trip – January 2022

Snow Gums face a massive threat from the spread of dieback which is caused by a native beetle – and also super charged by climate change, and localised collapse of snow gum woodlands due to more frequent fires.

Last winter Friends of the Earth (FoE) published An Icon at Risk, which considers the many threats to the mountains of north east Victoria (the report is available here).

FoE will be hosting a field trip to map impacts of fire over four days in January 2022 in the Mt Hotham region.

Continue reading “Snow Gum citizen science field trip – January 2022”

VIC backcountry festival cancelled – here’s to 2022!

With the announcement from the Victorian government that the current lockdown will be extended beyond thursday September 2, the organising committee have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Backcountry Festival at Mount Hotham. Given the extended COVID-19 restrictions, we have no option but to cancel.

We have set the dates for next year – September 2, 3 and 4, back at Mt Hotham.

We are, of course, deeply disappointed to have to make this decision. A huge amount of effort goes into planning events like this and it has been especially hard with a constantly changing situation with lockdowns. Many businesses and individuals have come on board to back the event and we thank the Mt Hotham community for the support and good will they have offered the festival.

Continue reading “VIC backcountry festival cancelled – here’s to 2022!”

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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Mountain winter events 2021

Recent snowfalls across the Alps has got every snow lover excited about winter. Here is an initial list of snow related events happening across Victoria, NSW and the ACT this winter.

Please check here for a list of tour guides, all avalanche training providers, and gear hire options.

Continue reading “Mountain winter events 2021”

Alpine Ecology workshop at Dinner Plain

This full day workshop will happen at the community centre at Dinner Plain on Saturday May 1.

It will feature a great range of speakers, covering:

  • alpine peatland ecology
  • fire and alpine environments
  • opportunities to be involved in ecosystem restoration in the high country.

Continue reading “Alpine Ecology workshop at Dinner Plain”

Bushfire recovery funds for alpine and valley communities

Ten projects in Indi (north eastern Victoria) have received funding through the federal governments Local Economic Recovery (LER) program for bushfire recovery.

Local Member for Indi, Helen Haines, says: ‘They will bring new jobs and attract tourism, and I’m so proud to see the hard work and initiative of our region recognised by this investment.

‘It is fantastic that the Alpine resorts have received $7 million for three transformational projects. The resorts were hit hard by the fires and then COVID-19, and yet inexplicably, the Government had initially excluded them from the bushfire recovery funding.

‘There is also great news for tourism in our region here. $5 million for the Great River Road, upgrades to the Alpine Hotel and Bright Velo will help position our region for a strong economic recovery, creating sustainable jobs by bringing tourists to our wonderful region’.

Continue reading “Bushfire recovery funds for alpine and valley communities”

Dinner Plain Mountain Adventure Festival

Dinner Plain in the Victorian Alps is hosting a 4 day adventure festival over the weekend of January 23 – 26 (the Survival Day/ Invasion Day/ Australia Day weekend).

It will feature a range of free and paid events, including:

  • an outdoor screening of the Bright Mountain Film Tour
  • self guided hikes to Mt Feathertop, with a free shuttle bus to the trailhead
  • abseiling tours
  • mountain bike clinics
  • photography workshops
  • orienteering sessions

Check the Dinner Plain website for full details, and bookings.

One year on from the DEC 31 fires

In late November 2019, fires started in East Gippsland as a result of lightning strikes. As noted by Peter Gardner, many of these went on to become major blazes. November 21 was a Code Red Day, causing fires across the state. On December 30, fires tore through the township of Goongerah in East Gippsland. By 30 December 2019, the fires started in November had grown into three active fires in East Gippsland with a combined area of more than 130,000 hectares, and another in the north-east of the state near Walwa, which was heading south-east towards Cudgewa.

And on new year’s eve, lightning storms passed across the state and started another set of fires across the Victorian mountains, and fire season came to the Alps with a vengeance.

Continue reading “One year on from the DEC 31 fires”

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