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Victorian Alps

Tali Karng – a jewel in a changing landscape

Tali Karng is a magical lake, tucked away in the mountains north east of Licola in the Victorian high country.

According to Parks Victoria, Tali Karng is the only natural lake within the Victorian Alps. ‘Held behind a rock barrier created thousands of years ago, the underground stream it feeds emerges as the infant Wellington River 150m below in the Valley of Destruction’. It is about 14 ha in size and sits in a deep valley. It has been a hugely popular walking destination for decades, especially with scout and school groups, and ‘doing the Tali Karng’ walk is a rite of passage for many as they transition from weekend to longer walking trips. It is also a place that reflects the changing way we view, manage and visit our wild natural places.

The lake is on the traditional lands of the Gunaikurnai people, most likely members of the Brayakaulung clan. When I first visited Tali Karng at 15 years of age, I had no idea of the First Nation connection and we often camped by the lake. There was no signage or acknowledgement of the traditional owners. At that point I had no awareness of Aboriginal people in the mountains and I assume that was the same for most people who loved bushwalking.

That started to change after the Gunaikurnai won a Native Title determination in 2010.

Continue reading “Tali Karng – a jewel in a changing landscape”

20 years on from the 2003 Alpine fires.

It is 20 years since the 2003 Alpine fires tore through much of the Victorian high country.

On 8 January 2003, lightning strikes ignited 87 fires, 8 of which would join to form the largest fire in Victoria since the 1939 Black Friday bushfires, burning through 60% of the Alpine National Park.

For more than 40 days, several high country townships, including Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain, were under threat from a fire that would ultimately burn 1.3 million hectares, destroying 41 homes and upwards of 9,000 livestock.

According to Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV), emergency workers and volunteers from across 35 agencies, including more than 4,000 firefighters, helped protect community, landscapes and property over that summer. There is a great set of images from the fires on the FFMV facebook page.

Since that time, fire has become more common in the high country. A lot has changed since then, both in terms of how we fight fires, and the resources we have available to do so.

Continue reading “20 years on from the 2003 Alpine fires.”

‘A brief story of a remarkable Historical gathering’

Mountain Journal has published a number of stories in recent years about the fact that Jaithmathang Original Country elders are returning to the mountains to reconnect with their Yerto (meaning land/country high up).

As Jaithmathang Senior Elder, Loreman and Songman, Goengalla Jumma Myermyal Minjeke said in 2021, “in 1830 there was a population of more than 600 Jaithmathang Original People living in our isolated pristine Yerto Alpines, in our Mountain Ranges and on our fertile High Plains Country”. 

“By the early 1850s our population was decimated and there were only a handful of our people left; there was the arrival and occupation by pastoralists and miners, and then the numerous massacres and killings. The last few Jaithmathang who were left were removed away from our Country to other surrounding settlements”.

Now reconnection is happening. This story comes from Karina Miotto and Goengallayin Jumma Jumma.

Continue reading “‘A brief story of a remarkable Historical gathering’”

Is this the summer you do the AAWT?

Its walking season. And people are getting out, despite some crazy weather. A friend has just left on the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT). Another is about to leave. A work mate is planning to walk it in autumn.  And I am seeing many posts from people who were out on the track during recent epic snowfalls. It seems like our premier long distance trail is getting a lot of love at present.

Many of the usual issues will remain, like sections that are hard to find in the hill and valley country in the south. In the northern end, the heavy rains are making it hard to do river crossings in places like the Murrumbidgee and Eucumbene rivers and Morass Creek. Fire regrowth in some areas is also making for some hard navigation. And the road from Mt Beauty to Falls Creek will be closed through summer, making support and food drops on the Bogong High Plains slightly more problematic (you can reach the High Plains via Omeo). Because of heavy rains, there are many local road closures in the mountains.

But, as always it is a great adventure.

Continue reading “Is this the summer you do the AAWT?”

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.

Continue reading “Mountain forests miss out on protection”

Acknowledging the pioneers who protected the Alps

Over the past two years, we have produced two printed versions of the Mountain Journal. The first one focused on Where are we? (Visions from First Nations people about their aspirations for the Alps). The second focused on Giving back to the mountains (profiles on some of the many people doing good things in the mountains, like campaigning, guiding, ski patrolling and restoration work and so on).

The third issue (due out around New Year) will look at the people who came before us and who built our knowledge of the value of the high country, influenced our views of the mountains, and worked to have them protected.

Continue reading “Acknowledging the pioneers who protected the Alps”

Alpine Resorts Victoria takes on management of VIC resorts

On Saturday 1 October 2022, recent amendments to the Alpine Resorts (Management) Act 1997 came into effect.

Those amendments include the abolition of the Mount Hotham, Falls Creek, Mount Buller Mount Stirling and Southern alpine resort management boards and the Alpine Resorts Co-ordinating Council and the establishment of Alpine Resorts Victoria (ARV) as a single entity to manage Victoria’s six alpine resorts.  This has been long planned and with winter over, ARV is now starting the job of managing the resorts.

Continue reading “Alpine Resorts Victoria takes on management of VIC resorts”

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

Huw Kingston finishes a winter traverse of the Australian Alps

On September18,  adventurer Huw Kingston finished his long journey skiing and walking the 700km length of the Australian Alps, in the process raising over $62,000 for Save the Children’s Our Yarning project.

Yesterday afternoon, 52 days since his journey began with a Smoking Ceremony and ski at Victoria’s Lake Mountain resort, Huw Kingston could finally take off his pack and put down his poles. Fittingly the end of his journey was at the historic old ski area of Mt Franklin Chalet, high above Canberra in the Brindabella Mountains and, fittingly again, he enjoyed fresh snow to serenade him to the finish line.

Continue reading “Huw Kingston finishes a winter traverse of the Australian Alps”

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”

‘Alpine Odyssey’ crossing of the AAWT finishes soon

In a journey expected to take some 50 days, Huw Kingston, 59, is skiing and walking the 700km length of the Australian Alps this winter and, along the way, skiing at each of the 12 snow resorts. His Alpine Odyssey aims to raise $50,000 for Save the Children’s Our Yarning project.

Huw hopes to take the final steps of Alpine Odyssey to finish at the Namadgi NP Visitor Centre in Tharwa, ACT on the afternoon of Sunday 18 September.

Continue reading “‘Alpine Odyssey’ crossing of the AAWT finishes soon”

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