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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Stay Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.

 

Day by day we get closer to society wide lock down as a way to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus/ COVID-19. It will be a long 14 days once we’re all inside. Here are a few ideas and resources that might help keep you sane and inspired.

Look after yourselves, neighbours and communities in these coming weeks and months. I can’t say it better than TGR did: Be Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.

Continue reading “Stay Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.”

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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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What’s happening with the Tyndall Range walk proposal?

Mountain Journal has previously reported on the planned walking track through the Tyndall Range in western Tasmania. The TAS government wants to see it developed as the next ‘iconic walk’ in the state. This will mean considerable walking track development in what is currently a remote and undeveloped area, and could bring up to 10,000 people a year into a delicate alpine environment. As stated by the Tasmanian National Parks Association (TNPA), ‘construction of any hardened track on the Tyndall Range and Plateau would mar the landscape and destroy its wild and natural character’.

This is an update on the status of this proposal.

Continue reading “What’s happening with the Tyndall Range walk proposal?”

The North Face presents: Western Faces

Western Faces is a new film featuring a fantastic line-up about a trip to ski and explore the western faces of the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains.

“Australian mountaineer Tim Macartney-snape, freeskier Anna Segal and Freeride World Tour rookie Michaela Davis-Meehan, are set to explore some of the steepest faces in their backyard. With New Zealand freeskiers Fraser McDougall and Hank Bilous along for the ride, they’re slogging deep into the backcountry to find freeride terrain that will have their Kiwi-counterparts do a double-take”.

The digital launch will happen on Thursday July 16.

Continue reading “The North Face presents: Western Faces”

VIC ski season update – what’s open

With the announcement that Mt Hotham and Falls Creek lift operations will be closed ‘until at least 19 August’, and other resorts about to make announcements, the season has suddenly changed (again).

Here’s what’s known as at July 12.

Continue reading “VIC ski season update – what’s open”

Feral horse management hearing in NSW Land and Environment Court

A hearing is taking place this morning, Thursday 9 July, in the NSW Land and Environment Court regarding the management of feral horses in Kosciuszko National Park.

Continue reading “Feral horse management hearing in NSW Land and Environment Court”

How do we build our air capacity to fight wildfire?

Australia just experienced its hottest, driest year on record, with fires starting in the winter months and burning in some places until early March. Thousands of volunteer and career firefighters battled these blazes. As is normal practise, states helped each other out by sharing teams and resources.

As fire seasons get longer because of climate change, the prospect of fighting local fires and also having to support other states for larger sections of the year is daunting. It is also a problem for those who have to ensure we have adequate air support to be able to fight fires. Because many of the firefighting aircraft are leased, and shared around the world, as fire seasons get longer, there will be ever more demand, and greater cost, to secure the fleet we need.

Continue reading “How do we build our air capacity to fight wildfire?”

MSC kicks off the 2020 Backcountry Conditions Reports

Mountain Sports Collective is a membership based not-for-profit user group organisation for human powered alpine sports in Australia.

In winter it produces a regular ‘Backcountry Conditions Report’ covering three areas: North East VIC, the Central Alpine Ranges in VIC, and the Main Range in the Snowy Mountains. The reports cover alpine snow and weather conditions and travel and terrain advice. It is generally updated as conditions change significantly.

This winter MSC has set up a ‘community observation’ page that allows backcountry users to contribute information about conditions. You can add your observations here.

Now that proper winter conditions have finally kicked in, the Reports will be updated on a regular basis.

Please check the reports before heading into the backcountry.

 

You can support the efforts of MSC by becoming a member.

 

 

 

‘FOI reveals feral horse numbers exploding faster than ever in Kosciuszko’

Wild horses, along with other feral species, have inflicted enormous damage on the alpine and sub alpine environments of the Australian Alps for decades.

There has been a long campaign to have numbers of horses reduced, which has been resisted by people who claim the horses have a ‘cultural’ claim to be in the mountains.

However, the current NSW government has continually failed to act to protect the NSW High Country, by refusing to support horse removal programs. (In a surprise move, the NSW environment minister, Matt Kean, recently announced that ‘about’ 4,000 feral horses will be removed from Kosciuszko national park as ‘part of an emergency response to protect the alpine ecosystem after large areas were devastated by bushfires’).

One of the key points used by opponents of horse removal is the claim that numbers of horses are inflated by proponents of removal. This has been a dominant argument used by pro brumby groups in both NSW and Victoria. Conservation group Reclaim Kosci has just released information received through a Freedom of Information request, which shows the size – and growth – of the horse population in the Northern Snowies.

The following information is taken from the Reclaim Kosci media release on the issue.

Continue reading “‘FOI reveals feral horse numbers exploding faster than ever in Kosciuszko’”

Forest protests continue to ramp up in Victoria and NSW

For the last few months there have been sustained, decentralised protests happening against logging operations in Victoria. Check here for some notes on previous actions. It has continued today (June 29) with protests in the Black Range, Toolangi, Lakes Entrance Mt Disappointment and the Pyrenees State Forest, with a symbolic connection to protests being held in NSW.

Continue reading “Forest protests continue to ramp up in Victoria and NSW”

Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing ‘resurfaces’

The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) reports that ‘Originally proposed in a 2008 (and long obsolete) Nature Based Tourism Strategy, a Falls to Hotham ‘icon’ tourist walk has been re-invigorated yet again’.

For some background to this project, check this page for various articles from Mountain Journal.

Continue reading “Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing ‘resurfaces’”

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