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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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

We’ve on the tail end of an awesome winter. But the fact is that climate change poses an existential threat to the winters we love.

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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Remote area firefighters call for more resources

Firefighters at the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife service are calling for more specialised local staff to fight remote fires.

During the 2016 fires that devastated fire sensitive vegetation in Tasmania, there were a number of suggestions made by concerned observers that the Parks and Wildlife Services’ firefighting efforts appeared ‘poorly prioritised’ in terms of early response to the fires in remote areas. According to the Tasmanian National Parks Association, fire response prescriptions prioritising rare and threatened fire sensitive species were not ‘effectively implemented’. Lack of early intervention may have resulted in these fires becoming larger than they otherwise would have been. Similar claims have emerged with the 2019 fires.

Continue reading “Remote area firefighters call for more resources”

‘Respect the Mountain’ calls for peaceful protest to defend kunanyi/ Mt Welligton

The community campaign to stop a cable car from being built up the eastern face of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington has reached a new phase.

With the state government intervening to over ride local council concerns, there is the risk that exploratory drilling could start on the mountain at any time.

In response, residents group ‘Respect the Mountain – No Cable Car’ have announced that they will oppose any drilling through organising peaceful protests. They say ‘when the drilling rigs come, we will be there. The Government and the investors have got this one wrong’.

You can sign up to express your interest in being involved in peaceful direct action through this link. Respect the Mountain reports that several hundred people have already signed up.

There will be a training day for people who may be interested in joining peaceful actions on Sunday March 3. Details here. You can register for the session here.

Further details on the campaign are available here.

Castella forest about to be logged

Logging appears to be imminent in this very important forest in Castella near Toolangi, to the east of Melbourne.

The Castella coupes are a stronghold for a diversity of species including the threatened greater glider and critically endangered barred galaxias – a small native fish.

A blockade has been established to protect these forests.

Please call the environment minister and urge her to intervene to protect this forest.

Call and ask to leave a message: 03 9637 9504.

You can find further information here.

Fire risk a grave threat to cable car proposal

As the long debate continues about whether a developer should be allowed to build a cable car up the face of kunanyi/Mt Wellington, Bernard Lloyd reminds us about the primary threat to the mountain, which is posed by wildfire. Regular fires on the mountain have huge implications for the proposal to build a cable car.

In terms of combustibility, the forest on the mountain’s eastern face carries the greatest fuel load. The cable car is planned to be built up the eastern face.

  Continue reading “Fire risk a grave threat to cable car proposal”

The 2019 Tasmanian Fires so far: what has burned and where?

An update on what ecological communities have been burnt.

Fires have burnt across huge sections of Tasmania this summer (and some continue to burn despite recent rain and milder conditions). There have been grave fears that fire sensitive vegetation – plant communities that will not recover or recover very slowly after fire – had been badly impacted by the fires.

An initial analysis (based on the fires up until Feb 5) of what types of vegetation have been burnt so far in this summer’s fires is heartening. According to Dr Sam Wood, only very small areas of fire sensitive vegetation have been identified as being burnt. “The majority of the burned area is comprised of flammable vegetation communities” (ie, communities adapted to fires). Continue reading “The 2019 Tasmanian Fires so far: what has burned and where?”

Logging in the Stirling Alpine Link?

A new logging coupe (the ‘Bus Loop’ coupe) is about to be logged near Mt Stirling. The trees are a mixture of (very old) snowgums, and alpine ash, only some of which is suitable for making sawlogs.

This coupe exists within the area proposed for inclusion in the Stirling Alpine Link (SAL).

Continue reading “Logging in the Stirling Alpine Link?”

Citizen Science Camp in East Gippsland

Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) will be running citizen science camps in 2019. The first one will happen in far east Gippsland over the Labour Day weekend in March.

Continue reading “Citizen Science Camp in East Gippsland”

NSW’s inaction on horses causing problems in ACT

Have you ever lived next to a bad neighbour who doesn’t care how their actions impacts on you? If so, then you probably know how Victoria and the ACT feel about NSW’s unwillingness to control the herds of wild horses that range in the Snowy Mountains.

The enormous environmental impacts of wild horses are widely documented. In spite of this, the NSW government has aligned itself with the ‘brumby lobby’, which wants to keep wild horses in the Kosciuszko national park for ‘cultural reasons’. They have legislated to protect the horses from culling. Given that there is no fence between the mountains in NSW and adjoining states, this negligence is impacting Victoria and the ACT.

Continue reading “NSW’s inaction on horses causing problems in ACT”

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.

Tuesday April 30

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.

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.

Check here for the full list of films.

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