Search

Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Tag

Victorian Alps

The Australian Alps Walking Track

There are many incredible long distance walking tracks crossing the mountains of the world. Some, like the Pacific Crest Trail or PCT, which goes from Mexico to the Canadian border, have a high profile and see thousands undertake (or at least start) the journey each year. After the Overland Track, our most famous long distance mountain walking track would be the Australian Alps Walking Track, or AAWT, which stands out because of the smaller numbers of people who undertake it, its relative remoteness, and the fact that long distances of poorly marked tracks can make for difficult route finding. There are not many towns along the way (only a couple of ski resorts) and food drops can be a lot of work to organise and very time consuming (in contrast, along the PCT people mail supplies to themselves in the towns the trail passes through).

Continue reading “The Australian Alps Walking Track”

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”

The literature of the high country

Barry Lopez was a wonderful author who focused on exploring the relationship between human cultures and nature. He passed away in 2020. His famous work Arctic Dreams was the first of his books that I discovered, and I have enjoyed his essays for many years. I am currently working through Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World, which was published shortly after he died. It is a luminescent collection of essays and one really stood out for me: Out West. He embarks on a long road trip to try and connect with the western plains of the USA. As he leaves, he loads up the many books that reflect on, or are based in, the areas he would be visiting. There are many famous names and books on the list, from Wallace Stegner, Ansel Adams to Cormac McCartney. He reflects on how history is recorded, how land and place is captured in literature and art, and how our understanding of the past shifts according to the dominant narratives of our time.

That, of course, got me thinking about the books I would have with me as I started a long road trip of our mountains. This is the start of a fairly Victorian-centric list.

Continue reading “The literature of the high country”

This tax time can you support campaigns to protect our mountain environments?

Mountain Journal is one of my passions. Along with things like my involvement in the backcountry festival, Protect our Winters, and the Mt Hotham Dinner Plain CFA, there are many ways I try to share my love for the mountains. One of my other passions is my work as campaigns co-ordinator for environmental group Friends of the Earth (FoE). In the last few years FoE has started to do substantial work in support of mountain environments.

Continue reading “This tax time can you support campaigns to protect our mountain environments?”

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”

A pack raft descent of the Dargo River

This is one of the lead stories in this year’s Mountain Journal magazine. It is about an expedition to packraft the Dargo River in the Victorian Alps.

Content by Daniel Sherwin. Intro by Kelly van den Berg.

Continue reading “A pack raft descent of the Dargo River”

Mt Wills – a precious sub alpine plateau in need of protection

As we waited for the snow to arrive last week, it seemed like the right time for the annual pilgrimage to Mt Wills. I have often written about what a special mountain it is, tucked away behind the eastern fall of the Bogong High Plains and Mt Bogong (named Warkwoolowler in the Waywurru and Dhudhuroa languages). I love that strange hut on the little summit plateau, the grassy meadows with old snow gums scattered everywhere,  the endless rock outcrops and rocky escarpment on the east side.

Mt Wills is a classic ‘island in the sky’ of isolated snow gum woodland. While it is connected by a long and high ridge back to Bogong, mostly the land falls away to deep river valleys and forests initially dominated by Alpine Ash. It feels like a small sub alpine sea poking out into the upland valleys of the eastern Alps. I love the silence and perspective back to other mountains. But what really draws me back year after year are the ancient snow gums.

Continue reading “Mt Wills – a precious sub alpine plateau in need of protection”

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”

Fires are getting worse. We need extra firefighting capacity to stop small ones becoming blazes

As we head towards winter, now is the time to think about next summer and the fires that may come after two wet, mild years. There are many things we need to do to be ready for the climate change driven fires of the future. Here is one of them: Victoria should set up a volunteer remote area firefighting team, which can work alongside the government paid fire crews. This would increase our capacity to stop lightning strikes from turning into massive blazes. It’s a good idea. It just needs a bit of political will and money to make it happen.

Continue reading “Fires are getting worse. We need extra firefighting capacity to stop small ones becoming blazes”

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”

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”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑