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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Backcountry events 2019

In all parts of the skiing and snowboarding world, interest in the backcountry – those areas outside the sections of resorts serviced by lifts – continues to grow.

While backcountry is still a ‘niche’ thing, advances in gear technology and a range of guided tours and safety courses are making it easier for resort skiers/ riders to travel out of bounds, and the backcountry community continues to grow.

Here are a few of the backcountry themed events and opportunities I’m aware are happening this winter.

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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’”

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Lake Malbena developer appeals refusal of project

In February this year, the Central Highlands Council in Tasmania rejected the Lake Malbena tourism development.

The controversial ‘helicopter tourism’ development planned for Halls Island in Lake Malbena on Tasmania’s central plateau had previously been approved by state and federal governments. The local Council was the last government authority which needed to sign off on the project. It had been hoped that the rejection by Council would be the end of the proposal.

However, the developer has lodged an appeal against this decision. Hearings are currently underway in Hobart.

Continue reading “Lake Malbena developer appeals refusal of project”

‘Kosciuszko National Park is lurching towards a crisis’

Wild horse populations pose a significant threat to alpine and sub alpine areas across the Alps. However in NSW, a campaign to have the horses protected because of their ‘cultural’ status means that impacts are growing significantly within Kosciuszko National Park. Now horse removal from the park has stopped for a second year in a row because of an intervention by NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro.

Andrew Cox, the Invasive Species Council CEO, has called this a “shameful back-down for a government claiming to prioritise protection of the environment.”

Continue reading “‘Kosciuszko National Park is lurching towards a crisis’”

Campaign against Mount Wellington cable car keeps growing

The long campaign against a cable car that has been proposed for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington, in Hobart, has entered a pivotal moment, with the developers having lodged a development application for the proposal.

In response, local group Residents Opposed to the Cable Car has issued a statement outlining how they will be ramping up their campaign against this unpopular and destructive project.

Continue reading “Campaign against Mount Wellington cable car keeps growing”

National parks need ‘at least one per cent of state expenditure’.

As the issue of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park demonstrates, winning protection of an area in a park is only the first bit of protecting wild places. They need adequate funding to allow land managers to protect their ecological values. This has been highlighted recently by the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA), who have pointed out the many threats to parks (weeds and pest animals such as deer, pigs, foxes and cats, and human visitation, plus climate change).

The Coalition cut funding for parks while they were in power in Victoria and while funding has increased under the current ALP government, the VNPA believes funding needs to double if parks are to be adequately managed.

Continue reading “National parks need ‘at least one per cent of state expenditure’.”

She Went Wild trip to Kosciuszko

She Went Wild intends to “inspire, educate and connect women to live adventurously in the outdoors” and does this through offering training and trips across many outdoor activities. They say “for too long, female adventurers have been underrepresented in the outdoors industry. She Went Wild journey started in an effort to overcome the barriers faced by women who want to spend more time out and about”.

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The MSC ‘Slay Safe’ backcountry academy

Mountain Sports Collective will be running a series of FREE Introduction to Advanced Backcountry sessions this season. These events are for participants who are eager to step beyond the patrol lines and learn the skills required to pursue extended ski touring (both skiing and split boarding). This is nominally everything you need to know to travel over a variety of alpine terrain (Skiing / Skinning and ALPINE Climbing) and overnight (the eDVANCED bit).

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Waiting, waiting …

The ranges have been hammered by the rain. Going from a good cover of dry fresh snow that stayed around for opening weekend, the ranges have seen up to 140mm of precipitation since then. This has had a devastating impact on backcountry snow conditions.

While the resorts are operating, with limited terrain, the backcountry is not looking so good at present. With a patchy base that has been firming up in cooler conditions, it’s probably a better move to enjoy a few beers indoors or go for a walk at present. The immediate forecast still isn’t good, with mild conditions and a few days of ‘snow showers’ without any major falls expected. But once the snow does come in again, make sure you check the Mountain Sports Collective (MSC) backcountry conditions bulletin before you head out.

Continue reading “Waiting, waiting …”

Development application for cable car on kunanyi lodged

In huge news, it is being reported that a formal application has been lodged to develop a cable car on Hobart’s kunanyi/Mount Wellington. This divisive project has been the subject of a long and determined campaign from local residents who oppose the cable car.

The full scale of the project has not yet been released by the proponent. Local government councillors could vote on the future of kunanyi /Mount Wellington as soon as August.

Continue reading “Development application for cable car on kunanyi lodged”

(Another) vigil for the mountain

As the long campaign against the cable car planned for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington continues, the residents group Respect the Mountain is keeping the pressure on the developer and all levels of government involved in the approvals process.

They have now announced there will be a peaceful vigil outside the Wellington Park Management Trust Meeting to highlight the Trusts continued involvement in ‘pushing this inappropriate proposal for the people’s mountain’.

The Trust has an important role in looking after the mountain but has been criticised by many in the community during the campaign.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 9 AM – 10 AM

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