Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

2016 Radical Reels tour

Catch the steepest and deepest in high-adrenaline outdoor sport films with the 2016 Radical Reels Australian tour. Hurtle down steep rocky paths, push the boundaries of human stamina and climbing exposure, paddle huge drops and massive white water, ski pristine backcountry steeps and fly into unchartered territory over the beautiful mountain ranges.

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Atone for your carma by supporting mountain critter cause

Winter may be long over, but the snow is still there across the higher ranges of the Australian alps. It was a winter that went through so many boom and bust cycles and if all that rain had been snow, we’d be skiing until January. Long after the resorts have closed there is still decent and rideable cover in many places, but we are getting towards the end of season 2016.

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Hound hunting for deer in our Parks?

Anyone who spends time in the High Country has probably seen a deer (or several). While not as well known as wild horses in terms of environmental damage, deer are a real problem for sub alpine environments.

Recreational hunters have often argued that they are a key part of the solution to the deer problem and have recently made these claims in the Victorian parliamentary inquiry that’s currently underway.

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Brumby damage in alpine regions rated ‘significant’

Brumbies (wild horses) cause a huge amount of damage in the Australian high country. While it is usually the herds in Kosciusko National Park that feature in the news stories and public debates, this recent piece by Nicola Bell from The Weekly Times highlights the problems in Victoria.

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Nat Segal – Greenland and the future of skiing

In March of 2014 six women set sail from Ísafjörður, Iceland with the intention of sailing across the Denmark Straight and up the south-west coast of Greenland. They hoped to explore the remote coastline, pioneer new ski descents, and collect scientific data in some of the most incredible wilderness on earth.

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Thirty years of co-operative management of the Alps

National Parks now cover much of the higher terrain in the Australian Alps, from the Baw Plateau to the east of Melbourne, all the way across the mountains almost to the outskirts of Canberra.

Those of us who enjoy these parks owe a great debt to the people who argued for the creation of the reserves in the first place, and to the generations of land managers that have looked after them.

While it is a discrete series of parks in Victoria, NSW and the ACT, there is also overall co-ordination of the parks through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the three state and territory and federal governments.

The MoU has allowed the Australian Alps to be managed co-operatively by the various agencies. Treating the Alps as a single bioregion makes a lot of sense, especially in a time of climate change. Yet like all good government decisions, the concept of co-operative management didn’t just appear. It took decades of work by a range of big picture thinkers and visionaries, and engagement in political processes at many levels that saw the creation of the agreement.

The current version of News from the Alps is dedicated to the co-operative arrangement and includes a potted history of the processes that lead to the signing of the MoU.

Whereas in the early stages after European colonisation, the Alps were seen largely as summer grazing grounds for cattle and sources of wood, gold and other materials, the history in the newsleter makes it clear that there was concern about the state of the Alps from the early to mid 1940s.

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Strengthening Parks Victoria – Your vision for parks

Parks Victoria is asking the community to ‘share your experiences, expectations and aspirations for parks’ via a website and series of community forums. This is happening as part of the Strengthening Parks Victoria project.

PV says:

‘As part of the Strengthening Parks Victoria project, we will be looking at your stories, comments, and advice to us, to help better understand what values parks have to you, and what we can do to enhance your enjoyment of Victoria’s incredible natural settings.

This information will help us to celebrate with you the spectacular landscapes, habitats and places we have managed for nearly 20 years, and understand how we must evolve in the future to deliver the best outcomes for Victorians, visitors, our economies, and the incredible Country we care for.’

On their website you can:

Tell PV about how you enjoy and experience Victoria’s parks

Provide ideas on how to improve the experience of visiting parks

Alpine Ecology Course 2017

The Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology is pleased to announce details of its 2017 Alpine Ecology Course.  This is an exciting opportunity to learn about the plants, animals, land-forms and soils that make up alpine ecosystems. The course is designed for people who are involved in natural resource management or conservation activities in alpine and other natural environments.

It will be held on the Bogong High Plains from the 5th – 10th February 2017.

Further information available here.

Hakuba MountainLife Magazine

One of the influences for Mountain Journal was a great magazine from Colorado called Mountain Gazette, which existed in a number of forms from the early 1970s. It was an insiders view of life, landscape, and culture in the mountain states of the USA (it now exists as an online journal).

As a lover of regionally focused art and media, I’ve long enjoyed a range of magazines from around the world, mostly North America, which cherish and appreciate the mountain environment. There are lots of great sport-focused journals that have a strong emphasis on the natural environment where our adventures take place (some of my faves include Backcountry, Wild and Rock and Ice). The rarer ones focus on culture, landscape and the interaction between people and their surroundings (Orion is a brilliant ‘all round’ journal in this regard, but I especially loved Highline, which stopped production last year).

I was recently introduced to Hakuba Mountain Life magazine, a thoroughly beautiful homage to the backcountry in this part of the Japanese Alps (thanks Peter).

It is put together by Mio Tonouchi and Damian Banwell. Damian is an Australian backcountry guide. The magazine does have a focus on their business but extends way beyond, celebrating particular mountains, providing advice on backcountry adventures and avalanche safety, and touching on the human culture that inhabits the valleys around the Japanese Alps. It has great images. The magazine describes itself as ‘reflecting our love for backcountry life in our local mountains’. Damian and Mio are doing their best to Live the Dream, riding in winter and farming at other times.

Loving and appreciating place through any form of media is a great thing to do. But I do agree with the ‘contributers’ section of the magazine, which notes the contribution of The Mountains & Nature Itself: ‘do not confuse the moon with the finger that points at it’.

[IMAGE: Hakuba Mountain Life]

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