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Mountain Journal

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Central Tasmania

“Something changed about 2000″. TAS forests threatened by ‘catastrophic’ bushfires

Widespread wildfires in early 2016 caused devastating damage across large areas of the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, including significant sections of vegetation which is not fire adapted, such as Pencil Pine forests.

At the time, and in follow up investigations, it became clear that increased fire risk due to climate change posed an existential threat to these vegetation types. Now additional research has confirmed the trend towards more extreme fire seasons. It suggests that we reached a ‘tipping point’ sometime around the year 2000 and that, since then, there has been an increase in the number of lightning-caused fires and an increase in the average size of the fires, “resulting in a marked increase in the area burnt”.

Continue reading ““Something changed about 2000″. TAS forests threatened by ‘catastrophic’ bushfires”

TAS and federal govs ‘ignored expert advice’ in approving wilderness development

The attempt by some in government and business to open up World Heritage and other protected areas to commercial development has seen a long running campaign by those who fear that individual developments could be the ‘thin end of the wedge’ and open the door to much greater incursion.

Recently there has been substantial concern about plans to build a fly-in, fly-out luxury camp at Lake Malbena in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) on the Central Plateau. It is a remote location, to the south east of the famed Walls of Jerusalem area. The plan includes a helipad, accommodation, kitchen and toilet facilities.

Now, leaked documents show that Tasmania’s national parks advisory body argued against the controversial development which has been supported by both the State and Federal Governments.

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Controversial Walls of Jerusalem camp approved by federal environment department

The new federal environment minister, Melissa Price, has approved a controversial proposal to allow ‘helicopter tourism’ and a small commercial operation inside the Walls of Jerusalem national park in Central Tasmania.

Having a new federal environment minister is an opportunity to hit the ‘reset’ button on particular issues that come under the minister’s jurisdiction. The decision to approve this application can only be seen as a disappointing early move from the new government under PM Scott Morrison.

The minister’s department considered ‘that the proposal is not likely to have significant impacts on any nationally protected environmental matters’. However the proposal includes plans for 120 helicopter flights a year on to Halls Island inside the park.

The final stage in the approvals process rests with the Central Highlands Council.

Continue reading “Controversial Walls of Jerusalem camp approved by federal environment department”

Help stop planned ‘helicopter tourism’ in the Walls of Jerusalem

Tasmania is blessed with beautiful and intact landscapes and an impressive network of national parks. However, World Heritage Areas and national parks have long been targeted by developers who want to establish commercial tourist operations in a number of places (check here for a current list of proposed developments). One of these proposals would see helicopter tourism inside the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in central Tasmania at Halls Island in Lake Malbena.

You have a chance to say NO to this development.

Continue reading “Help stop planned ‘helicopter tourism’ in the Walls of Jerusalem”

Helicopter tourism in the Walls of Jerusalem?

Tasmania is blessed with beautiful and intact landscapes and excellent protection of much of the state. World Heritage Areas and national parks have long been coveted by developers and have been resisted – with varying degrees of success – over the years. The old saying ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom’ is certainly true in a place like Tasmania.

Under the current very pro ‘development’ Liberal government in Tasmania there are no end of proposals for private developments in national parks and other parts of the conservation network (check here for a current list). Mountain Journal has covered some of these, including the cable car planned for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington, the walking track into Lake Geeves in the south west of the state, and the gondola and re-development that is being proposed for the Cradle Valley in the north of the state.

Now a new proposal being pursued which would see helicopter tourism inside the Walls of Jerusalem National Park in central Tasmania.

Continue reading “Helicopter tourism in the Walls of Jerusalem?”

Tasmania + summer = water adventures

I prefer my water frozen. But rivers are still pretty cool … and as spring and summer comes into focus, so does water related adventure.

And Tasmania has it all: tarns, huge lakes and dams, impressive rivers, incredible coastal inlets and harbors like Port Davey on the west coast.

Here’s a few obvious thoughts about the options on offer if you’re looking for an adventure:

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Time for that Tassie trip?

As some forecasters suggested early in the year, 2017 seems to be turning into a less than average and slightly erratic season. The ephemeral joy of winter snow seems even more fleeting than usual this year, with the lesson that you should get out and enjoy it wherever and however you can when it arrives.

The most recent fronts appear to have brought the most snow to the southern mountains of Tasmania, which also got me thinking about the ephemeral wonder of Tassie’s peaks after heavy snow.

Continue reading “Time for that Tassie trip?”

Mersey Forest Road reopens access to Walls of Jerusalem National Park

The Examiner newspaper is reporting that the Mersey Forest Road has re-opened. There is a 1.4 km walk to the start of the Walls track, and access is still not available to the end of the valley (ie the track into Chalice Lake, Arm River, Lee’s Paddock.

Continue reading “Mersey Forest Road reopens access to Walls of Jerusalem National Park”

Slow recovery after Tasmanian fires

Mountain Journal has published a number of stories on the fires that devastated large areas of Tasmania’s high country in 2016. At the time we suggested that the ecological damage would be very long term because of the nature of the high elevation vegetation.

Sadly, that seems to be the case:

The following comes from a news report by the ABC.

A year on from bushfires in Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area (WHA), some areas are showing signs of recovery but others are not.

Ecologist Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick said once alpine flora such as pencil pines were burnt, they died.

“They haven’t got any seed stores, so there’s no seed in the soil and there’s very seldom seed in the trees themselves, so if you burn the stands you’ll often get rid of them for a very long time period,” he said.

“It’s those plants that actually make it a world heritage area because they’re really highly significant scientifically as paleo endemics from the cretaceous period.”

The fires wiped out plants more than 1,000 years old.

Researchers will travel to Lake Mackenzie next month to gather data about how the landscape is faring.

 

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