Victorian Government’s alpine cattle grazing policy heads to court

The following comes from The Weekly Times, and is written by Rob Harris.

THE “lawfulness” of the Victorian Government’s alpine cattle grazing policy will be challenged in the Supreme Court today.

The Victorian National Parks Association, represented by Environmental Justice Australia, is attempting to test the validity of the cattle grazing trial under Victoria’s National Parks Act.

The Wonnangatta Valley, in the Alpine National Park, was the site of a three-year cattle grazing trial which began in April this year.

The former federal Labor Government had blocked an original attempt to return Victoria’s mountain cattlemen to the high country when the Ted Baillieu’s Coalition came to power in 2010.

Cattle would return to the site in January 2015 if the Coalition wins the Victorian election on Saturday.

“The prime purpose of national parks is for conservation, not cow paddocks,” VNPA spokesman Phil Ingamells said today.

He said in recent weeks the VNPA had commissioned an expert ecological assessment of the Wonnangatta Valley, the site of the Coalition’s proposed three-year cattle grazing trial.

“They have been irresponsible in locating their cattle grazing trial in the remote and beautiful Wonnangatta Valley,” Mr Ingamells said.

He said the Coalition had “grabbed at least $1.5 million of taxpayers’ money for this so-called scientific trial” which he said was “primarily designed to buy votes in East Gippsland”.

“The grazing trial won’t give us any new information. Comprehensive research already shows that cattle have greatly damaged the Alpine National Park, and that grazing doesn’t significantly reduce fire risk in the high country.”

Running Wild’s 2014/2015 running program

Running Wild is “a series of spectacular runs in some of Victoria’s best national parks. Our motto is great runs – great places – great people. We do not run “races” as such, we are about the running experience, enjoying the country, experiencing what nature has to offer – weather, terrain and your ability to push yourself and get to know your body and your limits, and the social experience.

That is what running and wild running is all about, however if you want to run fast and race, that’s fine too”.

Their summer season starts in early February. There are a range of mountain runs, including the Lake Mountain Alpine Marathon, the Delatite Dash and the Razorback Run.

The Dinner Plain Mountain Running Festival is a new for the 2014/15 season.

Check here for full details.

Great Forest National Park. It’s Time.

A playground for Melbourne

Decided this election?

More than 30 environment, conservation, recreation, scientific and citizen science groups representing tens of thousands of Victorians have called on all political parties and candidates in the lead-up to the November 2014 Victorian election to clearly commit to the creation of a new Great Forest National Park in the Central Highlands.

Just 60 kilometres east of Melbourne grow some of the tallest trees on Earth. Their high canopies are home to wildlife such as gliders, owls and the tiny Leadbeater’s Possum.

Continue reading Great Forest National Park. It’s Time.

Mt Wellington cable car one step closer?

There is a proposal for a cable car on Mt Wellington/ kunanyi in Hobart. The Wellington Park Management Trust or WPMT have recently approved the extension to the Pinnacle Specific Area (the area open to development on top of the mountain). The Tasmanian Planning Commission is currently reviewing the Wellington Park Management Trust’s decision to extend the Pinnacle Specific Area, and the next option open to the community is to ask the Tasmanian Planning Commission to hold public hearings regarding this decision.

Residents Opposed to the Cable Car (ROCC) doesn’t believe the WPMT have adequately considered the representations made to them regarding the extension of the Pinnacle Specific Area, and has written to the TPC and the Hobart City Council asking them to hold public hearings. ROCC is asking concerned people to also contact the Tasmanian Planning Commission and urge them to hold public hearings. Numbers really matter and we need all the people who really care to stand up and be counted.

Continue reading Mt Wellington cable car one step closer?

Parks Victoria volunteer track ranger program

For people with solid outdoor experience who want to share their love of wild nature with others, this is a great opportunity.

Parks Victoria is calling for volunteer track rangers who can be available to stay in key areas in the Alpine National Park on peak weekends, to be available to support people who are out walking.

The Track Ranger Program was established in 2005 and has volunteers hiking and camping at popular walking trails and campsites in the Victorian Alps during peak periods. Track Rangers will spend time hiking the trails of Mount Bogong, Mount Feathertop or the Bogong High Plains over 3 to 5 days. The program runs over the new year period, Labour Day weekend and Easter.

You will receive support and training from Parks Victoria.

Check below for a full description of the role.

Continue reading Parks Victoria volunteer track ranger program

Australian Alps Walking Track maintenance program, 2014/ 2015

Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and Parks Victoria are embarking on their 3rd year of a joint maintenance program of the Australian Alps Walking Track from November 2014 to mid-March 2015. They are looking for fit and strong outdoor volunteers to join the program, committing 6 days to support the track maintenance activity.

Ross Grant, Parks Victoria Ranger in Charge, says the volunteers will be working in some of Victoria’s most spectacular scenic locations on a variety of projects.

Continue reading Australian Alps Walking Track maintenance program, 2014/ 2015

the Australian Mountain Bike Summit

You are invited to the inaugural Australian Mountain Bike Summit hosted at Mt Buller on 4-5 December 2014. This conference is dedicated exclusively to mountain biking, covering issues, emerging trends and opportunities relevant to this industry.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • - Industry best practice trails and emerging trail trends
  • - Trail advocacy and land management
  • - The current state of the Australian mountain bike market and future trends
  • - Industry development
  • - Developing sustainable trail funding models
  • - Mountain bikes and the media
  • - Industry issues and required actions
  • - Trail building: new products, techniques and supplies
  • - Securing or developing successful mountain bike events
  • - The future role and strategy of Mountain Bike Australia

Over 20 industry experts from Australia and abroad will deliver a range of keynote addresses, workshops and breakout sessions that will allow you to hear from the specialists, share ideas and ask questions in a collaborative environment. There will also be plenty of time for networking, socialising and
– most importantly – riding bikes.

Register by 31 October and enjoy a 10% early bird discount!

Australian Alpine Epic Launch

This critical industry event coincides with the 6 December launch of the Australian Alpine Epic – the first IMBA accredited trail in the Southern Hemisphere, offering a breathtaking 40km backcountry ride experience.

For more information, visit bikebuller.com.au or email summit@mtbuller.com.au

uranium mining in the Victorian Alps?

Now, here’s a serious blast from the past (apologies for the bad pun). While looking through some old files I found an article from 1978 from the Friends of the Earth (FoE) magazine, Chain Reaction (number 4(1), 1978) about the threat of uranium mining in the Victorian Alps.

Back in the mid 1970s, a German company called Urangesellschaft had exploration rights to a very large area of the Alps, from near Tolmie near Mansfield, right down almost as far as Bairnsdale. They had a total of almost 6,000 square kilometres of land under license and this included the Avon wilderness area and large sections of the Wonnangatta valley.

Continue reading uranium mining in the Victorian Alps?

The final frontier: women in ski films

Pretty Faces. An all female ski film.

We all know that women are radically under represented in skiing and boarding films. I remember posting a trailer for a film once and a friend commented “where are all the women? At home minding the kids?”. Harsh but fair. Each season brings a new round of films, but women continue to be an absolute minority in both resort and backcountry orientated films.

That is why this new production is so inspiring. Pretty Faces is “a film celebrating women who thrive in the snow”.

The film’s producers point out that women make up around 40% of the skiing population and 30% of the people watching adventure sports films. Yet only 14% of athletes in major ski films were female in this years releases. “Additionally, last season’s 14% was record female representation, up from 9% the previous season”.

The concept for the film came from professional big mountain skier and SheJumps co-founder, Lynsey Dyer. SheJumps encourages the participation of women in outdoor activities. Lynsey wanted to produce a film that gave “women and girls, young and old, a source of inspiration through a unique look at what is possible when boundaries are broken, dreams captured and friendships cultivated”.

In Lynsey’s words “I wanted to give young girls something positive to look up to…I wanted to give them their Blizzard of Ahhs, Ski Movie or High Life, but done in a way that also shows the elegance, grace, community and style that is unique to women in the mountains.”

“We see this as an opportunity to provide an inspiring documentary ski film told from a female’s perspective to connect with and celebrate skiing’s female population”.

“Although skiing is the focus of the film, we hope to showcase women’s on-hill success–from professional skiers to recreational enthusiasts–to inspire girls of all ages to pursue their dreams, walk the path less traveled, and reach their fullest potential, whatever path they choose”.

I haven’t seen the film as yet. Apart from loving the fact it aims to showcase the talents of women, I also appreciate that making the film was a collaborative process. The people behind the project did a call out for contributions: This isn’t just a project for “big-names” in the sport. We are looking for women old and young, talented and hard working, from all backgrounds to contribute to this project. Footage that oozes excitement, passion, authenticity and hard work will be considered for inclusion in the film”.

You can see the trailer here.

The film will be available for purchase shortly. Check the website for details.

the Dinner Plain Clean Energy Initiative

The Dinner Plain Clean Energy Initiative is a great new program. It aims to offer cheaper, pollution free electricity generated from renewable sources, as well as new technology alternatives to replace antiquated, polluting and expensive gas heating and hot water systems.

You can switch your electricity supplier here.

For every person that switches, Powershop will make a donation to the DP Community Energy project. You can also switch your Melbourne home using the above link to support the DP Community.

Continue reading the Dinner Plain Clean Energy Initiative

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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