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Backcountry festival program launch

The program for the 2nd Victorian backcountry festival will be released via the website next week.

People who have pre registered (you can register for $10 for the weekend here) will receive early notification of the program, and be able to sign up for tours, by the end of this week.

The program looks fantastic, with offerings from Hotham ski school, Traverse Hotham, LetsSplit, Melbourne Nordic Ski Club, Mountain Sports Collective, Bushwalking Search and Rescue,  and many individuals.

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Lake Mountain Ski Patrol looking for new volunteers

Lake Mountain Ski Patrol (LMSP) is looking to boost its numbers in the lead up to the 2019 snow season, giving outdoors enthusiasts the chance to volunteer with a difference.

The patrol is recruiting people who can cross country ski, have basic first aid training, love to work outdoors and are keen to join the weekend roster for volunteers over the winter months.

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Snowy Mountains Backcountry (SMBC)

With a growing number of businesses and groups offering backcountry tours and skills, we will run some profiles to give you a sense of what’s available.

Check this earlier profile of Lets Split and check below for details on Snowy Mountains Backcountry. More profiles of other businesses coming soon. You can check here for details on all the courses and touring companies that I’m aware of here.

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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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ACT government to consider declaring feral horses a pest

Wild horse populations are a problem right across the Alps. While there are plans to reduce numbers in Victoria, the NSW government has opted for a bizarre position that believes that ‘the cultural significance of brumbies needed to be recognised’, and hence culling in alpine national parks has been reduced. As a result, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has not undertaken any feral horse control in alpine areas for more than 18 months. This has meant that the large existing wild horse population continues to grow, and continues to adversely impact on alpine ecosystems.

Continue reading “ACT government to consider declaring feral horses a pest”

Climb8: 700 kms across the Alps on snowshoes

Climb8 will be a long distance snowshoe expedition planned for the 2020 winter.
It aims to cross 36 summits, visit 8 ski resorts and carry out climate change research along the way.

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Underfrog – a documentary about horses in Kosciuszko National Park

Feral horses damage alpine wetlands, stomp fragile waterways and threaten native wildlife and yet the NSW Government created a law last year giving feral horses heritage protection in Kosciuszko National Park, overriding the legal protection provided to the native plants and animals of the national park.

Reclaim Kosci and the ANU environment collective are hosting the ACT premier of the Underfrog documentary in a night about the feral horses issue in Kosciuszko National Park.

This Saturday May 11, in Canberra.

Continue reading “Underfrog – a documentary about horses in Kosciuszko National Park”

An update on the ecological costs of the 2019 Tasmania fires

Bushfires, which were started by lightning strikes, burnt large areas of Tasmania last summer.

There have been fears expressed by ecologists that large areas of fire sensitive vegetation have been impacted.

An initial desk top assessment carried out by researchers at the University of Tasmania suggested that the areas of these vegetation types affected was very small.

In March, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service updated their assessment, which also stated that only small areas of vegetation types that are rated ‘Extreme fire sensitive’ (containing components that will not recover from fire, such as rainforest with king billy pine, alpine conifer communities, alpine deciduous beech communities and rainforest with deciduous beech) and ‘very High fire sensitive’ communities (including alpine and subalpine heathland without conifers, rainforest without conifers, and mixed forest) had been affected.

Now, an additional assessment, by the Tasmanian National Parks Association (TNPA), adds further detail to our understanding of the impacts of this summer’s fires.

Continue reading “An update on the ecological costs of the 2019 Tasmania fires”

Logging stopped near Icy Creek

Forest Conservation Victoria reports that:

“Logging has been halted today in an area of forest at Icy Creek, along the main scenic tourist road out to Mt Baw Baw. A person is suspended 25 metres above the ground up a tree on a platform tied to logging machinery. Their actions are preventing the destruction of Ballantynes Saddle, which still remains after major decimation on the adjacent ridge.”

Ballantynes Saddle lies on the road to Mt Baw Baw between Icy Creek and the township of Tanjil Bren.

Continue reading “Logging stopped near Icy Creek”

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