Another year has zipped by. Probably the big news in terms of the mountains over the past year is that we experienced a fantastic winter. Although it started late and had some bad rain events, the snowpack in September was the deepest in the last 17 years. We also avoided a nasty fire season at either end of the year.
On the human side of things there was considerable consternation about the future of the alpine resorts. In NSW, negotiations have dragged on over the Head Lease which covers the resorts within the Kosciuszko national park and in late 2017 the Victorian government finally announced the long anticipated re-structure of the alpine resorts in that state.
In a heartening move, a number of resorts, such as Thredbo, made announcements about programs which intend to reduce their contribution to climate change (although there were many more ambitious examples of this action coming out of the USA).
There was lots of debate around the control of feral species, including wild horses and deer. And, as in previous years, there was a lot of information released about the expected impacts of climate change on alpine environments. Logging in Victoria, the plan to destroy snow gum woodland at Dinner Plain near Mt Hotham, and the cable cars planned for Mt Wllington/ kunanyi and Cradle Mountain generated the most feedback amongst readers who contacted me or commented on social media.
In terms of visitation, the most popular stories in 2017 on Mountain Journal were:
- The ever popular side country stash at Mt Hotham (with visitation cranking up significantly pre winter)
- The Backcountry film festival
- Climate change related stories (especially ‘more fires, less snow gums’ and ‘the ski industry and climate change’)
- The Ducane Traverse (track notes from my favourite alpine traverse in Australia, located in the southern end of the Cradle Mountain national park in Tasmania)
- The story (from several years ago) about traditional owners of the Australian Alps
- The restructure of the management structure of alpine resorts in Victoria
- A number of skiing and walking guides (including my ‘Best 3’ backcountry ski tours in Australia and the ski guide to The Bluff / Mt Howitt area)
- Stories on logging in the Toolangi forests and other areas in the Central Highlands to the east of Melbourne
- Plans to clear snowgum woodland at Dinner Plain for a ‘village green’ (thankfully unlikely to proceed), and
- The proposal to create a walking track from Melbourne to link with the Australian Alps Walking Track (and hence create a single path from Melbourne to Canberra).
- Additionally, a story on Australia’s southern-most ski field at Mt Mawson in Tasmania was a big hit.
Visitation has continued to go up. Thanks to the many people who have been sending feedback and details on upcoming events. I always welcome content on mountain related themes, you’re welcome to send articles via firstname.lastname@example.org And please feel free to keep in touch via facebook or Instagram.
So far it hasn’t been a bad fire season. Let’s hope the rest of summer stays the same!
Thanks for the feedback and for coming along on the journey. Have a great year. Regards, Cam
[some photos from Mt Stirling, VIC, August 2017]