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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

(early) happy New Year

I’m planning to be on my usual mountain, with the usual suspects, to see off the year, hence this slightly early bit of New Year greetings.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. Mountain Journal taps into at least a decent part of the mountain loving community here in Australia, and seems to fill the need for info about – and appreciation of – the mountains we love so much.

Its easy to despair about the state of the world. We will have our hands full in 2017, with lots to do. But in the meantime I hope you’re having a great summer, that you’re out in the hills, and that you have an excellent new year.

Alps blueprint proposes major cull of horses

Recently the Victorian government released a ‘blueprint’ plan for the national parks in the Alps, which aims to guide management over the next 15 years.

The plan identifies eight priorities for urgent action, one of which is feral horse control.

Peter Hunt from The Weekly Times has looked into one aspect of the plan which will cause concern among groups who have campaigned against shooting feral horses. However, the environmental impacts of wild horses are well documented and numbers of these animals needs to be radically reduced.

Continue reading “Alps blueprint proposes major cull of horses”

The Bright Mountain Film tour

The Bright Mountain Film tour is on after Christmas, starting at the Bright Community Centre on December 28. It features outdoor adventure films from around the world, including mountain bike riding, extreme paddling, climbing, horse riding and para gliding.

There are also shows in Myrtleford, Mt Beauty, Harrietville and finishing with a second show in Bright on Jan 6.

Full details here.

IFFA’s Alpine Adventure

The Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association (IFFA) is holding a field trip to the Bogong High Plains over summer.

This will be a great opportunity to learn from others and share your own knowledge and experience in a friendly and social environment. IFFA says “get to know a great bunch of folk with a common passion for our indigenous flora and fauna”.

January 26 – 29, 2017

The trip will be based at the Viking Alpine Lodge in Falls Creek.

Non members are welcome but will be asked to join if attending the trip.

You can find out details and book tickets here.

 

Climate change to make TAS fires more intense and more frequent.

Widespread wildfires in early 2016 caused huge damage across large areas of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, including significant sections of vegetation which is not fire adapted.

Inquiries into the fires were held during 2016, with a senate inquiry recommending the creation of specialist remote area fire fighting capacity.

The question of how much climate change influenced the extent and severity of the fires has been debated at some length, in the media and the inquiry processes.

This article by Emilie Gramenz from the ABC is a further update on the outcome of the process and the need for further research into the links between fire and climate change. A key message from researchers is that “climate change would likely make future fires more intense and more frequent”.

Continue reading “Climate change to make TAS fires more intense and more frequent.”

Greater Alpine National Parks Management Plan released

Parks Victoria has released its blueprint for managing and protecting 900,000 hectares of Victoria’s unique alpine and high country over the next 15 years.

The Greater Alpine National Parks Management Plan aims to protect and enhance the outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values of the parks.

Continue reading “Greater Alpine National Parks Management Plan released”

Vertical Life magazine

Vertical Life is a great online climbing magazine put together by a bunch of Australian climbers (you can subscribe to their online magazine here). Every two years, they produce a printed version of the magazine, which features a range of articles and images from the online version. It is edited by Ross Taylor and Simon Madden. The 2016 edition is now available. They describe it as a ‘handsome, collectible print tome that collects all of the best content published in the digital issues of Vertical Life during 2014 and 2015’.

The print version of VL is more a journal than a magazine, in some ways similar to the annual ‘Ascent’ edition of the Rock and Ice magazine put out in the USA, being stronger on reflecting on climbing rather than focusing on the latest new routes. The 2016 offering has a nice set of stories that cover a good cross section of the Australian outdoor climbing scene:

Continue reading “Vertical Life magazine”

World Mountain Day

World Mountain Day is on December 11. While it has a theme each year (see below), for me it’s a chance to reflect on how much mountains influence my life and how much I enjoy being in them.

Wherever you are, I hope you have a great day.

According to the United Nations, the theme in 2016 is:

“Mountain Cultures: Celebrating diversity and strengthening identity”

Covering around 22 percent of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 915 million mountain people around the world, representing 13 percent of global population, but mountains also indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.

Mountain Cultures

This year, the celebration of this Day aims to highlight Mountain Cultures. Mountains host communities with ancient cultures and traditions, and are places of religious worship, pilgrimage and rituals all over the world. The concept of traditional heritage, culture and spirituality is intrinsically linked with peoples’ livelihoods in the mountains, where it is often traditional lifestyles that determine the way people make a living and subsist.

[IMAGE: Mt Geryon in Tasmania is one of my favourite mountains].

 

Senate inquiry into Tasmanian fires calls for creation of a national remote area firefighting team

The report from the Senate Inquiry into the terrible fires that happened in Tasmania last summer has now been released.

The inquiry looked at ‘responses to, and lessons learnt from, the January and February 2016 bushfires in remote Tasmanian wilderness’. The committee was chaired by Greens Senator Nick McKim.

Probably the key recommendation in the report is the proposal that the state and federal governments should investigate the establishment of a national remote area firefighting team. Coalition committee members dissented, saying informal and formal relationships already exist between the state and federal governments and that the Army is also brought in when needed. However the slow pace at which a number of remote area fires were tackled indicates that there was a shortage of fire fighting resources able to be deployed quickly into remote areas. The devastation of areas such as around Lake McKenzie on the Central Plateau was compounded by the delay in getting fire fighting units into the area.

The Coalition MPs on the committee also disagreed with another call in the inquiry report for Australia to report annually to the UNESCO Wilderness World Heritage committee about the state of conservation within the Tasmanian WWHA.

Other issues raised in the report include the need to ensure adequate funding of research into how climate change will influence fires in the world heritage area. For instance, the committee recommends that the Australian Government recognise the need to enhance protection and conservation efforts in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area by allocating increased funding:

  • to the Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania, for appropriate management activities and resources; and
  • for research projects aimed at providing qualitative and quantitative data specific to climate-related and ecological threats to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (such as dry lightning strike). It appears that the frequency of dry lightning strikes has already increased in recent decades.

The final report is available here.

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