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Mt Stirling

Logging will damage the Epic Alpine Ride at Mt Stirling

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 (starting any week now), including several coupes that will directly impact the Alpine Epic ride.

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Logging at Mt Stirling – what’s at stake?

With news that logging could commence on Mt Stirling as soon as this week, Friends of the Earth (FoE) activists visited the mountain over the weekend of November 18 – 20. Assisted by Friends of Mt Stirling and the Victorian National Parks Association, we visited most of the planned coupes and carried out night time surveying for threatened animal species in a number of them.

What we found was a rich diversity of forests and ecosystems, from mid elevation mixed species forests, areas dominated by alpine ash, and in the higher Number 3 area, proposed coupes that were a mix of older snow gums intermixed with alpine ash. While we did not spot either Greater Glider or Yellow-bellied Gliders (YBG), we found forests within the coupes with likely habitat for these species and an active YBG feed tree.

Continue reading “Logging at Mt Stirling – what’s at stake?”

Mountain forests miss out on protection

 

In November 2019 over 96,000 hectares of Immediate Protection Areas (IPAs) were announced by the Victorian government alongside the Victorian Forestry Plan which will see an end to native forest logging by 2030. IPA boundaries for four areas have now been finalised.

However, there has been no additional protection of forests threatened with logging in the Victorian high country.

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Major logging operations to start at Mt Stirling

A considerable number of areas of forest on and around Mt Stirling are due to be logged soon (November 2022 onwards). This will have significant impacts on tourism (a number of the areas will be cut along the popular Circuit Road), will further fragment the important alpine ash forests on the mountain, and threaten the viability of older alpine ash and snow gum forests upslope due to the highly flammable nature of logging regrowth..

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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?”

Victoria’s alpine resort management boards to be merged into Alpine Resorts Victoria

The Andrews government has announced the establishment of a new management structure for Victoria’s alpine resorts.

Alpine Resorts Victoria – set to start work by July 2022 – is intended to ‘make Alpine Boards more efficient’. It will be created by merging Victoria’s four alpine resort management boards, and will govern Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller, Mt Stirling, Lake Mountain and Mt Baw Baw resorts.

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Victorian Alps relief auction

Your chance to give back to Victoria’s Alpine Region, hit hard by bushfires and Covid-19. 

The Victorian alpine community has a special place in all of our adventure hearts, filled with beautiful mountains, great people and businesses, amazing food and memories shared through generations. 

But the community we all love is hurting – first with the bushfires, then the cancellation of the 2020 ski season due to Covid-19. They need our help. 

Which is why the team at Amer Sports have brought the Australian outdoors and snow industry together to create an online auction for you to support the alpine businesses doing it tough in Victoria. 

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VIC ski season update – what’s open

With the announcement that Mt Hotham and Falls Creek lift operations will be closed ‘until at least 19 August’, and other resorts about to make announcements, the season has suddenly changed (again).

Here’s what’s known as at July 12.

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There is only 0.47% of old growth alpine ash left in the Central Highlands

Alpine Ash, a quintessential tree of the Australian Alps, which is restricted to higher elevations, mostly between 900 m and 1,450 m in Victoria and southern New South Wales, has had 84% of it’s range burnt since 2002. Fires have burnt 84% of the bioregion’s 355,727 hectares of alpine ash forest, with 65% burnt in 2002/03 in the north of the Alps, 30% burnt in 2006/2007 in the south, and a smaller area (2%) burnt in 2009. Four per cent of the forest area was burnt twice within five years. And last summer, additional areas were burnt in the east of the state. This has led to scientists warning that large sections of Alpine Ash forests are on the verge of collapse.

And world renowned forest researcher David Lindenmayer says that only 0.47% of old growth alpine ash is left in the Central Highlands of Victoria. Let that sink in for a moment. The amount of old growth in the east and north east of the state is not known. But these areas have been heavily burnt in recent years, with ‘at least’ 10,000 ha of the forest community on the verge of collapse.

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Track works on Mt Stirling summit to protect the Stirling tree

On Mt Stirling in north eastern Victoria’s High Country, there is a lone snow gum, which is several hundred years old. Earlier this year, someone heavily pruned branches from the tree, which sparked a debate about access to the mountain top.

There is a 4WD track over the alpine area of the summit. This year the Howqua Gap Track will open to the public who want to drive over the mountain from 29 November through to early May. Many people drive over the mountain during summer months, and sometimes there is poor behaviour from drivers, who take their vehicles off track. Some trail bike riders also take their bikes offtrack to the summit. This has environmental impacts and reduces the experience that many other visitors are seeking in exploring the mountain. As a result, some additional track works and signage has now been put in place. It is a shame that poor behaviour by a few has resulted in additional works needing to be carried out on the mountain.

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The MSC ‘Slay Safe’ backcountry academy

Mountain Sports Collective will be running a series of FREE Introduction to Advanced Backcountry sessions this season. These events are for participants who are eager to step beyond the patrol lines and learn the skills required to pursue extended ski touring (both skiing and split boarding). This is nominally everything you need to know to travel over a variety of alpine terrain (Skiing / Skinning and ALPINE Climbing) and overnight (the eDVANCED bit).

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Lets Split – 2019 tours

Lets Split is again hosting splitboarding tours this winter. There will be 3 days trips and 2 overnight trips in 2019, both in Victoria and NSW.

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