This is impressive. A remarkable group of climbers have joined together to express their opposition to the proposed cable car development on Mt Wellington/ kunanyi in Hobart. There are some real luminaries of the climbing world signed on, and this will help bring international attention to this ridiculous project.
This survey, for Parks Victoria, is now at least 6 months old but is still open for comment. Depending on how many spots you want to nominate as being precious, the survey takes about 15 minutes.
The following comes from the PV website:
“Public lands in Victoria comprise national parks and reserves, state forests, marine parks, and other public lands. What do you value about these places? What changes would you like to see? We need your help!
In the first part of the survey, you will drag small icons onto a map of Victoria to identify places you value and your public land preferences. The second part is a short, simple questionnaire. We really value your input to help manage our public lands now, and to plan great public lands for the future!
The questionnaire will take you less than 5 minutes and the mapping activity takes most people around 10 – 15 minutes, depending on how many icons are mapped at each location and how many locations are mapped.”
Anyone who has hiked and skied the mountains between Buller and Stirling, and from The Bluff to Howitt and Cobbler and is over 30 probably knows the wonderful maps of Stuart Brookes.
Stuart has produced maps of the Alps and other popular walking areas since the late 1940s. As a teenager on my first walking, snow shoeing and skiing adventures in the area around the Howqua River, I fell in love with Stuart’s black and white map ‘Watersheds of the King, Howqua & Jamieson Rivers’. It had basic landform details shown through shading and all the features that a walker needed: good campsites, places where you could get water on the high ridges, routes and cairned trails rather than just the marked roads. I would get a new version every couple of years, and later versions were in multi colour and had contours. But they still had a sense of richness that are rare in modern maps. This was country that Stuart knew intimately and the maps evoked a rich sense of place.
The following comes from the Victorian National Parks Association’s Phil Ingamells.
It’s been six years in preparation, but the Greater Alpine National Parks Draft Management Plan has at last been released for public comment.
Covering five national parks (Alpine, Baw Baw, Errinundra, Mount Buffalo and Snowy River), as well as the Avon Wilderness Park and six smaller parks and historic reserves, this single management plan deals with nearly one-third of Victoria’s park estate.
Not surprisingly, there is little detail in such a broadscale document – but there are some quite specific proposals, such as the current alpine grazing trial. Roofed ‘retreat style accommodation’ is flagged for Mount Buffalo National Park.
Unfortunately the integrity of the draft plan has been marred by the oddly configured Alpine Advisory Committee, required by law to advise on the plan. The committee was appointed without its full quota of environmental advisors, yet has a majority of mountain cattlemen members and supporters.
The 40 maps available online may be difficult to download, but hard copies can be bought from Parks Victoria for $10, phone 13 1963.
Alternatively, you can view the plan and maps at the VNPA office, just call ahead on 03 9347 5188.
We will outline our response to the plan within a few weeks to help anyone making a submission. Comments on the draft are due by Monday 25 August.
Check the VNPA website for additional information.
In the following piece from The Weekly Times anglers accuse the environmental policies of the Victorian government for “ruining the state’s trout fishing areas in the high country”.
According to the Times,
“Anglers say the past season was disastrous in terms of lost brown and rainbow trout populations, and fear famous trout rivers are now years from recovery. “It was the worst trout fly fishing season in living memory,” Greenwells Fly Fishing Club at Albury president Des Walters said.
Many blame the widespread removal of non-native willows and poplars on public land under government environmental policy as the chief cause.
For background on the road proposal, check here.
If you don’t support secretive decision making by governments, or a new and unnecessary road in an alpine environment, you may want to send a message to the Minister who will take the decision:
The following update comes from Clay Lucas at The Age.
A move by the Napthine government to decide behind closed doors the fate of a controversial new road linking Mount Buller to Mount Stirling could be the first step in the development of the mountain as a new ski resort, a conservation group says.
Environment groups fought a long-running battle with property heavyweight Rino Grollo from the 1980s over his ultimately withdrawn plans to develop Mount Stirling as a downhill skiing resort.
The vision for a Great Forests National Park, proposed for the mountains east of Melbourne, is gaining momentum.
The tallest flowering trees on Earth grow north-east of Melbourne. In their high canopies dwell owls, gliders and Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s endangered faunal emblem, that lives only in the ash forests of the Central Highlands.
These mountain ash forests have flourished along the Great Divide under rich rainfall patterns. They provide most of Melbourne’s drinking water. They have been shown to be among the most carbon-dense forests on Earth due to the relatively cool climate and rapid growth.
The Park, stretching from Kinglake through to the Baw Baws and north-east to Eildon, will protect the forests of the Central Highlands. It will be a world class reserve in Melbourne’s backyard.
It is time for this great vision to be turned into a National Park.
More information here.
The following comes from The Mercury newspaper. Journalist is Michelle Paine.
You may want to add a comment to The Mercury article.
For background to this issue, please check here.
A CABLE car on Mt Wellington is a step closer as the public is called to comment on extending the summit’s development zone.
The Wellington Park Management Trust has agreed to evaluate the proposal to enlarge the Pinnacle Specific Area, which allows development.
The Mt Wellington Cableway Co requested the boundary be moved to accommodate a cable car.
Trust chair Christine Mucha said it did not mean the trust was supporting any particular development.
The change would extend the area by about 60m east of the observation shelter.
Dr Mucha said that after consultation, the trust would prepare a report for the Tasmanian Planning Commission.
“While we recognise the strong sentiment against the potential for future development in the Pinnacle Specific Area, the trust believes that the management plan enables such proposals to be considered and assessed in accordance with the performance standards contained in the plan,’’ Dr Mucha said.
MWCC project lead Adrian Bold said it was a positive step.
“We’re following proper process. They had to agree with our rationale. Now there will be a process that involves the public,’’ Mr Bold said.
He said enlarging the boundary was extra work but would mean the cable car would have less visual impact.
Residents Opposed to the Cable Car spokesman Ted Cutlan said he was appalled at the trust’s “rubber stamp’’.
“They’re bending the management plan to fit the development,’’ Mr Cutlan said.
“This is one step along the way. The developer has to put in a development application that would fit the plan.’’
This is from a few weeks ago, but is good acknowledgement of the efforts of researchers working to remove Hawkweed and control willows on the Bogong High Plains. Thanks to David Turner for spotting this one.
The release below is from Parks Victoria.
Parks Victoria Chief Executive Dr Bill Jackson today acknowledged The University of Melbourne’s Dr Nick Williams, and Dr Joslin Moore from Monash University, as joint recipients of Parks Victoria’s inaugural Nancy Millis Science in Parks Award.
Dr Jackson said the award was being presented to the two researchers for their outstanding contribution to fostering excellence in applied science for the benefit of park management.
“Both projects demonstrated the researchers’ strong willingness to work closely with park managers to understand the extent and challenge of the weed problems. They also demonstrated leading edge science in solving difficult problems.”
“The work of Dr Williams and his team from The University of Melbourne has helped to protect the Alpine National Park’s biodiversity and transformed hawkweed control into a cutting edge and targeted program. This research partnership between Parks Victoria and Department of Environment and Primary Industries staff has significantly reduced Hawkweeds in the Alpine National Park, and the goal of eradicating it altogether is now a real possibility.”
“Dr William’s research and the work being done by all the partners on this project also benefits private landowners as hawkweeds have the potential to invade agricultural land and significantly affect agricultural production.”
Dr Jackson said Dr Joslin Moore and her team had achieved great results in controlling willow on the Bogong High Plains and as a result has had a major impact in protecting the Bogong High Plains environment.
“Willows are highly invasive and following the 2003 fires began germinating in large numbers. This posed a significant threat to an area within the Alpine National Park that is particularly important for its high biodiversity and landscape environment.
“As a result of a 7 year partnership with Parks Victoria, local Catchment Management Authorities and Falls Creek and Mt Hotham resorts, Dr Moore’s work has been fundamental in improving efforts to control willows on Bogong High Plains.”
Dr Jackson said both researchers had extensively documented their research in scientific publications, adding to the international body of work on effective methods of managing these extremely invasive weeds.
“I warmly congratulate Dr Williams and Dr Moore, and their teams who have contributed to this work, on making a real difference to managing invasive weeds in Victoria’s iconic Alpine landscapes.
“Caring for our parks is a complex task that involves many challenges including climate change, population increases and threats such as invasive pest plants and animals.
“We need innovative solutions and a good scientific understanding of how best to tackle these issues and how best to care for these important natural environments. Dr Williams and Dr Moore’s projects are part of Parks Victoria’s Research Partners Program that fosters collaborative applied research with universities and other research organisations.
The Nancy Millis Science in Parks Award
This award presented by Parks Victoria honours the late Professor Nancy Millis who was Chair of Parks Victoria’s Science and Management Effectiveness Advisory Committee since its inception 1997 and a member of Parks Victoria Board’s sub-committee on Environment.
As the Tasmanian and federal governments are being internationally criticised at the World Heritage Commission meeting in Doha over their attempt to de-list 74,000 hectares of forest from the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, a new threat to the integrity of Tasmania’s reserves has come to light.
A Tasmanian government website is calling for Expressions of Interest from investors w ho have “ideas (for development) in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area as well as our National Parks and Reserves”.
It says the government wants to “unlock its natural areas to allow exciting new tourism experiences that are complemented by sensitive and appropriate tourism infrastructure”. In other words, more private development in conservation reserves.
Specifically, it says that the Government is looking for “developments which broaden the range of exciting and unique experiences on offer in our state by improving access for tourists while maintaining the integrity of our natural areas”.
It suggests that “sensible and appropriate” developments in the Wilderness World Heritage Area, National Parks and Reserves might include “resort-style accommodation. It might include walking tours, helicopter flights, mountain-bike riding, river cruises, new interpretative experiences or even luxury camping escapes”.
The Government is initially looking for ideas for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area as well as our National Parks and Reserves. In the longer term it will consider other protected areas including Crown land and State Forests.
The first round for putting in an EOI is open until 21 November 2014.
With the anti-green agenda of the Tasmanian government it is very hard not to see this as a dangerous development which will undermine the ecological integrity of the reserve system.
The Greens have opposed this process. Greens’ Parks and Tourism spokesperson Nick McKim said in May that “the Liberals have an irrational and ideological desire for development at any cost, and they simply cannot be trusted to safeguard the natural and cultural values of Tasmania’s National Parks.”