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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

The Last Hill – bikes & skis

Skiing/ snow boarding and MTB riding are natural partners. So many of my snow obsessed friends ride outside of winter. Despite the introduction of Fat Tyre bikes, not too many people ride above snowline in winter at least here in Australia.

But there is the spring tradition of assessing snow through riding MTBs along still closed roads – heading towards Mt Kosciusko from Charlottes Pass, riding the Dargo road to get to the southern slopes on Blue Rag Range, or riding from Falls Creek to access the Fainters are all stand out trips.

But this new film from Patagonia, The Last Hill (15 mins) pushes bike packing with skis to another level.

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Park City has pledged to reduce it’s carbon footprint to zero by 2032

Climate change is bearing down on us. The threat posed to people, economies and natural ecosystems is of a level only surpassed by the risk of nuclear war. For those of us who love mountains and winter, the threat is obvious enough: shorter, more erratic snow seasons.

While here in Australia we face a dwindling snow pack, it’s the same story in ranges around the world. For instance, in the Northern Cascades National Park, which contains 1/3 of the glaciers in the Lower 48 states of the USA, the glaciers have lost a half of their mass over the past century. Since 1955, the mountains of the western ranges of the USA have lost 23% of snowpack.

This is having a direct impact on local economies. Low snow seasons in the western USA between 2000 and 2010 cost the ski industry more than US$1B in lost revenue.

Many resorts and individual players in the snow industry have been stepping up and joining the fight against climate change. Park City in Utah is one of the latest.

Continue reading “Park City has pledged to reduce it’s carbon footprint to zero by 2032”

Mittagundi turns 40!

Mittagundi is a legendary outdoor education centre and pioneer-style farm on the Upper Mitta Mitta River, north of Omeo. It was established with the belief that young people, mountains, purposeful work and challenges are natural partners. Mittagundi is a home away from home for more than 500 young people each year.

This January, Mittagundi turns 40! You’re invited to join the celebrations.

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Mount Stirling in 2030 – Draft for Consultation

Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resort Management and the Mount Stirling Stakeholder Group are preparing a contemporary vision for the Mount Stirling Alpine Resort. Mount Stirling 2030 is a vision that reflects community and stakeholder aspirations, celebrating the social and environmental values of the mountain and addressing challenges of climate change.

Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management seeks your feedback on Mount Stirling 2030, which is being prepared to guide future management decisions for the Mount Stirling Alpine Resort.

The consultation period is open between Monday 18 December 2017 and 5pm Sunday 21 January 2018.

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Alpine Council suspends further work on Dinner Plain ‘village green’ for time being

At the Council meeting on December 18, Alpine Shire Council voted to suspend further development of the current feasibility work for the ‘village green’. Council will leave open the option of a village oval for future development once they have done the required vegetation offsets for Lot 3 (see below). Lot 3 is the land to the south of the village which is currently undeveloped.

Separate to this project, a planning permit has recently been granted for the construction of 7.1 km of new mountain bike trails in Dinner Plain, and the estimated cost of delivering this project is $400,000. Trail construction work is planned to commence in early 2018.

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Sustainable small towns

Totally Renewable Yackandandah is a volunteer run community group, formed in 2014, with the goal of powering their town with 100% renewable energy and achieving energy sovereignty by 2022.

One of TRY’s standout projects is the TRY Perpetual Energy Fund (PEF), which raises funds from donations that are reinvested in community projects around Yack to increase energy efficiency, generate renewable electricity and for storage. Loans are repaid from the savings made on electricity bills and the Fund is perpetuated for community sustainability projects. The first project was with Yackandandah Health Service (YHS). In 2015, TRY raised $5,000, which was loaned to YHS for the energy efficiency improvements. The connection of a 90kW solar-panel system at Yackandandah Health Service (YHS) replacement of 276 light fittings with low maintenance LED lights.

TRY is a great example of community controlled initiatives which are designed to transition to a more sustainable basis while also building a sense of community power.

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Bright Mountain Film Tour. December 28 – Jan 6.

The Bright Mountain Film Tour (BMFT) is a celebration of mountain culture and those who embrace it. Over five nights, the best adventure films from around the world are showcased amongst the alpine communities of North East Victoria.

This​ ​year​ ​BMFT2​ ​will​ ​‘feature​ ​some​ ​epic,​ ​home-grown,​ ​Aussie​ ​adventures​ ​and​ ​some​ ​awesome female​ ​adventures,​ ​recognising​ ​the​ ​diversity​ ​in​ ​adventure​ ​sports’.

There are five shows over the Christmas/ New Year period.

Continue reading “Bright Mountain Film Tour. December 28 – Jan 6.”

Mount Buller 100 Megalitre dam planned – call for public comments

Since at least 2014, there has been a proposal to construct a 100 Megalitre dam near the summit of Mount Buller.  The official title of the project is “Mt Buller Sustainable Water Security Project”.  The project involves the destruction of about 5 hectares of treeless alpine native vegetation, and subtracts about 10 hectares from the existing downhill skifield on Mount Buller.

Federal legislation requires a period of time to allow interested people and organisations to comment. Submissions are due by 22 December.

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Victorian Government moves on invasive animals

Wild deer cause massive damage across the Alps and many other forested parts of south eastern Australia. The Victorian Government has accepted most of the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry into the Control of Invasive Animals on Crown Land. Significantly, the government has acknowledged that recreational hunting is generally an ineffective means of invasive animal control and announced that feral cats will be declared pest animals on public land, allowing more effective control programs.

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