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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Backcountry film festival – Melbourne, April 30

The Backcountry Film Festival is produced each year by Winter Wildlands Alliance as a celebration of the human-powered winter experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snowsports community.

In 2019 it features a program of ten films, including productions from Colorado, Washington state, California and China. There will be a screening of the classic splitboarding film Ode to Muir, featuring Jeremy Jones and Elena Hight.

Tuesday April 30

Get there early for a drink: Bar from 6.30pm. Films from 7pm – 9.30pm.

Co-hosted with RMIT Outdoors Club.

Storey Hall (RMIT), 342-344 Swanston St, Melbourne.

Suggested donation: $8 conc & students/ $15 waged. Tickets at the door. There will be plenty of room. Sorry, cash only sales.

There will be a bar run by the RMIT Outdoors Club before the films start.

Facebook event page for Melbourne available here.

You can check the trailer for the 2019 season here.

Full listing of films available here.

This screening is family friendly.

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VIC Backcountry festival 2019 – dates and venue announcement

We’re delighted to announce that the second Victorian Backcountry Festival will be held over the weekend of September 7 and 8, 2019, at Mt Hotham.

As they say on those InfoCommercials: ‘But Wait. There’s More’:

We’re going to be collaborating with our friends at Falls Creek Cross Country and Alpine Access Australia to help bring you three awesome backcountry events during the winter of 2019, with gatherings in the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains and at Falls Creek.

Continue reading “VIC Backcountry festival 2019 – dates and venue announcement”

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Protecting our playground means action on climate

The winter of 2018 was awesome. But the fact is that climate change poses an existential threat to the winters we love. A summer of crazy fires across the alps and Tasmania reminds us of what the future holds – higher temperatures, longer and more extreme fire seasons and less rain.

Yet again, climate scientists have warned that we are running out of time to cut greenhouse emissions. Yet the federal government has dropped the ball on climate action (and our carbon emissions continue to soar), so we need everyone to put their shoulder to the wheel and remind them that the community wants to see meaningful action on climate change. Please send a message to the PM, Scott Morrison, that our winter landscapes are at threat, and that we expect his government to act.

The outdoor community and the outdoor industry have enormous political power. But only if we choose to flex our muscles.

Here’s two really simple ways you can get climate change on the radar of the PM:

Continue reading “Protecting our playground means action on climate”

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‘The cure for depression is action’

In March this year, I sat on the summit of one of my favourite hills, Mt Blowhard, and watched the fires just to the south, which were in the Dargo River valley and burning up onto the Dargo High Plains. Already a mosaic of burnt and reburnt forest, now characterised by the grey trunks of burnt trees, I knew that this would be another wave of impact on these mountain forests. Some parts of north east VIC have now burnt more than three times in a bit over a decade. Scientists warn about the loss of alpine ash and snow gum if the frequency of fire continues to increase.

Continue reading “‘The cure for depression is action’”

Kosciuszko National Park turns 75

On April 18, Kosciuszko National Park will turn 75. We have to be grateful to the community members who argued for the creation of this park, and the government of the day who created it. Cattle were previously allowed to graze on the Main Range, the ‘roof of Australia’, and the damage has taken many decades to heal.

Sadly, seven decades on, the park faces threats from climate change and invasive species like wild horses. This release from Reclaim Kosci outlines the ongoing threat posed by feral horses.

Continue reading “Kosciuszko National Park turns 75”

Feral horse numbers ‘skyrocketing’ in Kosciuszko National Park

The long debate over feral horses in alpine areas was derailed by a decision taken by the NSW government to protect rather than limit wild horse populations in Kosciuszko National Park. It was clear that this would lead to greater environmental damage in precious alpine areas.  Now Freedom of Information documents show that horse numbers have ‘risen dramatically’ since all horse control was halted in the park 20 months ago.

Continue reading “Feral horse numbers ‘skyrocketing’ in Kosciuszko National Park”

Public meeting on the kunanyi/ Mt Wellington cablecar

Tomorrow night (Tuesday April 15) the long awaited public meeting on the cable car proposal for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington will be held. Members of the Council, Wellington Park Trust and the Department of State Growth will be on hand to answer your questions. Let’s fill the place! Banners and placards are welcome.

7pm for 7.30pm at the City Hall – not the Town Hall! 56-63 Macquarie Street.

You can RSVP on Facebook

No sign of wilderness fire funding for World Heritage Areas

In recent years, wildfire has had devastating impacts on World Heritage Areas in Tasmania. The 2016 fires damaged fire sensitive areas and vegetation types, like Pencil Pines near Lake Mackenzie. Fires caused by dry lightning strikes are becoming more common since the year 2000. Yet resourcing for fighting fires in remote areas is not growing to keep up with greater fire threats.

The fires that happened this summer burnt more than 100,000 hectares, but thankfully (and based on initial estimates), it would appear that only very small areas of fire sensitive vegetation like Pencil Pine and King Billy Pine were destroyed. Innovative actions, like placing sprinklers to protect fire sensitive vegetation at Lake Rhona reduced the impacts. But it remains clear that fire fighters are under resourced to fight remote area fires. Despite sustained calls for additional resources, it would appear that the current commonwealth government isn’t coming to the party.

Continue reading “No sign of wilderness fire funding for World Heritage Areas”

Former fire chiefs demand urgent action on ‘escalating climate change threat’

We know that climate change is already impacting on Australia’s high country through longer and more intense fire seasons and increasingly erratic winter snow.

What is perhaps less obvious is the fact that emergency services are not adequately resourced to defend the mountains from worsening bushfire seasons.

This has been highlighted in the case of recent fires in Tasmania, where – even with interstate and international support – emergency services were not able to control fires in Tasmania’s world heritage areas over the summer of 2018/19. This had previously been the case in Tasmania in 2016, when precious areas of fire sensitive vegetation were destroyed. Additionally fires in the Victorian high country burnt some areas for the third time in 10 years, with the possibility of significant long term ecological impacts.

Now 23 of Australia’s most senior former emergency service bosses have come together in an unprecedented show of unity, calling on the Prime Minister to ‘get on with the job’ of reducing greenhouse gasses.

They also highlight the fact that Australia currently lacks the resources we need to fight wild fire effectively.

Continue reading “Former fire chiefs demand urgent action on ‘escalating climate change threat’”

‘No Cable Car’ Human sign on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington

The long campaign against the plan to build a cable car up the face of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington continues.

With the possibility that the developer might start test drilling at sites that would support cable car towers, local group Residents Opposed to the Cable Car have organised a number of events (check here for a recent symbolic action that was held on the mountain recently).

Continue reading “‘No Cable Car’ Human sign on kunanyi/ Mt Wellington”

“Reining in feral horse numbers should be top of Matt Kean’s to-do list”

The re-election of a conservative government in New South Wales sends a worrying signal to people who are concerned about climate change and the environment. They have already announced that the Office of Environment and Heritage will cease to be a ‘stand-alone independent body’ and environment issues will be absorbed into a new planning and industry department, while heritage will be moved into premier and cabinet. The Nature Conservation Council responded to this move by saying the government has ‘been at war with nature and environmental protection since it came to power in 2011’.

Reclaim Kosci, an advocacy group which is campaigning to ensure the Kosciuszko National Park is protected through tackling the number of feral horses running rampant in the park, says this issue should be the number one priority for the new energy and environment minister, Matt Kean.

Continue reading ““Reining in feral horse numbers should be top of Matt Kean’s to-do list””

VIC fires burn more than 100,000 ha.

It’s been a hard summer for fires, both in Tasmania and the mainland mountains. In Victoria, more than 100,000 hectares were burnt in the high country, making it another season of ‘mega fire’ (these large fires are growing in frequency under the influence of climate change).

Here’s a quick look at the major areas that were burnt:

Continue reading “VIC fires burn more than 100,000 ha.”

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