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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Alpine national park

Time to make Mt Stirling part of the Alpine Park

With a review of alpine resorts being carried out by the Victorian government, the Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) has renewed its campaign to have Mt Stirling incorporated into the Alpine National Park.

There is a small window of time remaining to provide input to the review, supporting the call for the inclusion in the park. The following information from the VNPA explains how to have input into the process.

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Alps blueprint proposes major cull of horses

Recently the Victorian government released a ‘blueprint’ plan for the national parks in the Alps, which aims to guide management over the next 15 years.

The plan identifies eight priorities for urgent action, one of which is feral horse control.

Peter Hunt from The Weekly Times has looked into one aspect of the plan which will cause concern among groups who have campaigned against shooting feral horses. However, the environmental impacts of wild horses are well documented and numbers of these animals needs to be radically reduced.

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Greater Alpine National Parks Management Plan released

Parks Victoria has released its blueprint for managing and protecting 900,000 hectares of Victoria’s unique alpine and high country over the next 15 years.

The Greater Alpine National Parks Management Plan aims to protect and enhance the outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values of the parks.

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The ‘Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing’ upgrade

The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing is described as “a mid-distance hiking experience through the unique and captivating Australian alpine environment”. There are plans to re-route it to make it a 56 kilometre trip and a Draft Master Plan has been released. Public comment is welcome before December 19.

Parks Victoria says “the walk will be supplemented with high quality accommodation options and interpretation that enable a range of visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and stories of Victoria’s High Country”.

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Summer Hawkweed Surveys

Many Mountain Journal readers will know that Hawkweed is a highly invasive plant species which can cause major environmental damage in alpine and sub-alpine areas of Australia if not eradicated early. Parks Victoria organises a series of Hawkweed surveys on the Bogong High Plains each year. If you love the Victorian Alps, the surveys are a great way to do something practical to support the ecological integrity of the mountains.

The following information comes from Parks Victoria:

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Hound hunting for deer in our Parks?

Anyone who spends time in the High Country has probably seen a deer (or several). While not as well known as wild horses in terms of environmental damage, deer are a real problem for sub alpine environments.

Recreational hunters have often argued that they are a key part of the solution to the deer problem and have recently made these claims in the Victorian parliamentary inquiry that’s currently underway.

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Brumby damage in alpine regions rated ‘significant’

Brumbies (wild horses) cause a huge amount of damage in the Australian high country. While it is usually the herds in Kosciusko National Park that feature in the news stories and public debates, this recent piece by Nicola Bell from The Weekly Times highlights the problems in Victoria.

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Thirty years of co-operative management of the Alps

National Parks now cover much of the higher terrain in the Australian Alps, from the Baw Plateau to the east of Melbourne, all the way across the mountains almost to the outskirts of Canberra.

Those of us who enjoy these parks owe a great debt to the people who argued for the creation of the reserves in the first place, and to the generations of land managers that have looked after them.

While it is a discrete series of parks in Victoria, NSW and the ACT, there is also overall co-ordination of the parks through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the three state and territory and federal governments.

The MoU has allowed the Australian Alps to be managed co-operatively by the various agencies. Treating the Alps as a single bioregion makes a lot of sense, especially in a time of climate change. Yet like all good government decisions, the concept of co-operative management didn’t just appear. It took decades of work by a range of big picture thinkers and visionaries, and engagement in political processes at many levels that saw the creation of the agreement.

The current version of News from the Alps is dedicated to the co-operative arrangement and includes a potted history of the processes that lead to the signing of the MoU.

Whereas in the early stages after European colonisation, the Alps were seen largely as summer grazing grounds for cattle and sources of wood, gold and other materials, the history in the newsleter makes it clear that there was concern about the state of the Alps from the early to mid 1940s.

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Victoria to increase aerial baiting for wild dogs

The Weekly Times reports that the Victorian government will give a major boost to aerial baiting in the state budget due later this month. It is not clear which areas will be focused on, but the Alpine National Park can be expected to be a key location given dog numbers, and statements by the minister that there will be baits laid in ‘hard to reach’ areas. In another land management development, the government has also announced it will work with the Australian Deer Association to cull deer.

Continue reading “Victoria to increase aerial baiting for wild dogs”

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