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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Protect Our Winters Australia film screening: Purple Mountains

Snowboarder and environmentalist Jeremy Jones embarks on a mission to raise awareness about climate change.

His film Purple Mountains is being screened in Bright as part of the 2021 Victorian Backcountry Festival, which will happen in and around Mt Hotham resort over September 3, 4 and 5. Join festival sponsors Bright Brewery for a free screening of ‘Purple Mountains’ inside the brewery.

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Lessons from the Tasmanian fires of 2018/19: state has entered a ‘new era of bushfire risk’

Over the summer of 2018/19 huge fires burnt across Tasmania. An independent review of Tasmania’s management of the summer bushfires was released in August 2019. It found inadequacies in the response to the fire burning near Geeveston, and revealed that crews withdrew from the Gell River fire in Tasmania’s southwest in the mistaken belief it was out. The fire then expanded again and became out of control.

The report made a series of recommendations

Now, a comprehensive study examining the 2018/19 and the experience of authorities and affected groups by Insurance Group Zurich has found that the state has entered a ‘new era of bushfire risk’.

“Since the turn of the millennium, climate change and land use change have converged to bring about a new fire regime in Tasmania,” Zurich’s first Australian Post-Event Review Capability (PERC) report said.

More than two thousand dry lightning strikes hit the state during that summer, igniting 70 fires that formed into four massive fire complexes. Over 95,000 hectares of protected land was burnt.

Continue reading “Lessons from the Tasmanian fires of 2018/19: state has entered a ‘new era of bushfire risk’”

Traditional owners concerned with plan to dump spoil in Kosciuszko National Park

Threats to the Snowy Mountains continue: Amendments to the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management have been published for public feedback, which set out the ‘desired changes’ to the area over the next 40 years (the submission timeline has now closed).

If approved, the plan would see a huge amount of development, including several thousand extra beds in resorts and new areas, occurring within this precious and fragile alpine park.

Meanwhile, Snowy Hydro pushes ahead with its plan to excavate approximately seven million cubic metres of earth for the project’s tunnels and subterranean power station.

That spoil will then be dumped on 55 hectares across four sites within Kosciuszko National Park.

Now a Traditional Owner representing the Ngarigo Nation in southern New South Wales says she has received no consultation about a plan to dump tonnes of waste spoil on her Country.

Continue reading “Traditional owners concerned with plan to dump spoil in Kosciuszko National Park”

Victorian Backcountry Festival 2021 Speakers Program Launched

As part of the 4th Victorian Backcountry Festival, we once again have a speakers program. As with other festivals, the program covers a range of mountain-related topics and great line up of presenters.

The program is being hosted by The General and Jack Frost, in Hotham village. It is being held over two days, the saturday and sunday.

The festival will run over three days: September 3, 4 and 5, 2021.

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Victorian Backcountry festival 2021 program launch

Here is the draft program for the 2021 Victorian Backcountry Festival, which will happen in and around Mt Hotham resort over September 3, 4 and 5. This will be the 4th year the festival has run.

Registration for the festival, and for the tours will be announced shortly – the program is being launched so you can get a sense of what’s on offer.  

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14 million cubic metres of spoil to be dumped in Kosciuszko National Park

The proposal to build Snowy Hydro 2.0 to strengthen capacity for energy storage seemed like a good idea at first. But as the details of the project emerged, especially the likely direct physical footprint of the project, more and more people and groups started to oppose it. (Background stories on the issue are available here).

After the release of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) the NSW National Parks Association said that the plan ‘proposes a completely unacceptable level of damage to Kosciusko National Park’.

The project received approvals and is now being constructed. However documents tabled in the NSW Legislative Council reveal that the NSW Government will only receive $1.65 million from Snowy Hydro Ltd for the dumping of 14 million cubic metres of spoil in Kosciuszko National Park.

So, a large section of the Kosciuszko National Park (fifty-five hectares) will be impacted by the dumped waste, yet the NSW Government will receive barely 1/1000th of commercial waste disposal rates.

Continue reading “14 million cubic metres of spoil to be dumped in Kosciuszko National Park”

Major new developments planned for Kosciuszko National Park

The New South Wales government has released its 40-year plan to turn the Snowy Mountains into a ‘year-round tourist destination’. The draft Special Activation Precinct plan outlines options for future growth in and around Jindabyne.

The public is encouraged to submit feedback on the draft plan by mid-August. Amendments to the Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management have also been released for public feedback. This proposes substantial new developments within the Kosciuszko National Park. It is also open for public comment.

Continue reading “Major new developments planned for Kosciuszko National Park”

It’s getting hot in here

Australian skiers, boarders and other snow lovers know that our snowpack is often pretty erratic. Last winter saw ‘boom and bust’ snow events then heavy rain that destroyed the base. We all know the misery of rain and drizzle when it should be snowing.

We know that because of climate change, our snow pack has been in decline since the 1950s.

Without serious action on the global scale to reduce emissions, we will see more and more winters like 2020: erratic, sketchy snowpack and lots of rain events.

Continue reading “It’s getting hot in here”

Jaithmathang Senior Elders reconnect with their original Country

Jaithmathang Original Country elders are returning to the mountains to reconnect with their Yerto (meaning land/country high up). This story was produced by North East Catchment Management Authority and reproduced with their permission.

Jaithmathang Senior Elder, Loreman and Songman, Goengalla Jumma Myermyal Minjeke looks out over Yerto (meaning land/country high up) while standing on Mt Loch and reflects on a separation from Jaithmathang Original Country that has lasted generations. Mt Loch is within Shared Yerto of the GunaiKurnai and Jaithmathang Original Peoples’ Country. 

Continue reading “Jaithmathang Senior Elders reconnect with their original Country”

Alpine Shire residents oppose gold mining

With the price of gold rising rapidly, much of regional Victoria is seeing renewed interest from mining companies, who are seeking exploration licences. In the Upper Ovens and Kiewa Valleys, there is strong local opposition to mining. A survey of local attitudes to mining highlights that gold mining does not have social license to operate in these areas.

The group No Gold Drilling (and no more gold mining) in Our Shire Valleys has released the results from their survey:

Continue reading “Alpine Shire residents oppose gold mining”

POW launches new campaign: #weallmisswinter

Protect Our Winters Australia has launched a new campaign, drawing the link between winters missed and climate change.

POW says:

‘Winter 2020 was one like no other. With limited or no access to our favourite mountains. It was difficult no being able to see our shred buddies, no fresh morning mountain air and for those who did manage to get some on-snow time, what snow did fall was well below average. But what if Winter 2020 was a look into the future? What if missing winter was the new norm?’

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Chillfactor 2021

2020 was the ‘Year that Wasn’t’ for many of us mountain lovers. Essentially no ski season in Victoria in the resorts, alpine parks closed, and no international travel to get to higher mountains elsewhere.

That had a huge impact on snow based and snow reliant businesses. As was reported recently in The Age, ‘During the 2020 snow season, Victorian alpine resorts received about 90,000 visitors, a 90 per cent decline on the previous year. The visitation collapse dealt a heavy financial blow, with economic activity plummeting to $109 million compared to more than $1 billion generated in the 2019 Victorian snow season’.

One small mountain business that made it through was Chillfactor, which is an essential part of Australian skiing culture. And the 2021 issue of the magazine is a great reflection on the winter that wasn’t.

Continue reading “Chillfactor 2021”

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