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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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alpine environment

The Mountain Legacy Project

The Mountain Legacy Project, or MLP, is “an interdisciplinary collaboration focused on exploring change in Canada’s mountain environments. Utilizing over 140,000 images taken by land surveyors from 1861 – 1953, MLP researchers seek to re-photograph these images as accurately as possible and make the resulting image pairs available for further investigation”.

It compares the original landscape shown in the early photos with ones taken in the same place over the past few years. It allows you look at the changes in many thousands of places – mountains, valleys and so on – over time. And the results are incredible. While it documents the development of towns, roads, changes in land management, the impact of logging operations and wildfire, etc, the most striking aspect is the change to snowpack and ice fields during this time.

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Rabbits adapting to eat snow gum leaves

This is a worrying development. Research by the legendary Ken Green shows that rabbits are now moving into snowy mountainous areas by adapting to survive on snow gum leaves when there is limited availability of grass. These are generally toxic to most animals.

The following article by Alice Klein comes from New Scientist.

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Alpine Ecology Course 2017

The Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology is pleased to announce details of its 2017 Alpine Ecology Course.  This is an exciting opportunity to learn about the plants, animals, land-forms and soils that make up alpine ecosystems. The course is designed for people who are involved in natural resource management or conservation activities in alpine and other natural environments.

It will be held on the Bogong High Plains from the 5th – 10th February 2017.

Further information available here.

Deer hunters want more access to Victorian wilderness

There is currently a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria into the control of invasive animals on Crown land. It is due to report back in March 2017.

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Keep an eye out for willows and other weeds

The following comes from Parks Victoria.

Help us eradicate willow and other noxious weeds from the Baw Baw and Alpine National Parks by participating in the West Gippsland Peatland Community Threat Surveillance Program, keeping an eye out for willows while you are visiting.

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Mt Stirling tree gets a nomination

If you’ve ever walked up Mt Stirling, its very hard to miss the ‘Stirling tree’ – a lone snow gum that stands towards the south peak of the mountain and is visible from the four wheel drive track that passes over the summit.

I often sit by the tree and never fail to be amazed by how many 4WD’s drive over the mountain, without the occupants ever stopping, let alone walking around. The views from Mt Stirling are superb, sitting in a huge ring of mountains that stretch from Mt Skene around to Howitt, all the way across to Buffalo Plateau. The tree draws your gaze and is a popular spot for many walkers as they wander around the summit area.

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Parks Victoria Volunteer Track Ranger Program

Last year Parks Victoria (PV) ran a Volunteer Track Ranger Program in north east Victoria. They received a very positive response from both the people who volunteered and those who were out hiking in the areas where volunteer rangers were present. PV has decided to run the program again this year and is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified people.

Being involved in the program will enable participants to expand their volunteer experience while exploring some of the remote terrains and campsites in the Alpine National Park. This helps Parks Victoria during peak times of visitation.

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‘Road to Nowhere’ rejected

Mountain Journal has previously reported on the plans to build a “Buller Stirling Link Rd” between the two mountains. It has been argued by the proponent (Mt Buller Resort Management) that the road will provide a second escape route off the mountain should a bushfire or land slide close the main road from Mirimbah to Mt Buller. There has been the argument that a link road will encourage more tourists in the ‘green season’ as it is sometimes argued that tourists don’t like going up a dead end road (this argument was used in the unsuccessful campaign to put a road in from the Baw Baw village and across the Baw Baw plateau).

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New developments on Ben Lomond?

A feasibility study has released which looks at the potential for further development at the Ben Lomond ski field in north eastern Tasmania. It is called Investment in Ben Lomond Skifield Northern Tasmania. It was produced for a range of clients including local government councils, Tourism Northern Tasmania, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and the Ben Lomond Committee. The committee is composed of the club / lodge and business operators at Ben Lomond and acts as a lobby group for the Ben Lomond skifield.

It proposes some significant developments be undertaken on the plateau in order to make the ski fields viable and extend the ‘green season’ attraction of the mountain. It identifies the likely financial costs of these developments without suggesting a source of finance. It points out that the development will lead to economic benefits across north western Tasmania rather than just the skifield itself. However, while noting the environmental impacts which could come with these developments, it makes no attempt to quantify these.

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