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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Cradle Mountain

The Great Tasmanian Traverse

This guided trip, which will happen over 39 days, is an epic journey that seeks to ‘traverse’ Tasmania on foot and raft from north to south. While sections are covered by road and light plane, it does include a long walk from the north coast all the way to Lake St Clair. It then heads into Frenchmans Cap, does 8 days on the mid and lower Franklin River, before flying to Melaleuca on the west coast and one final, extended walk along the South Coast Track.

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Details of Dove Lake development revealed.

There has been a long process which will see a major development in the northern end of the Cradle Mountain Lakes St Clair national park in Tasmania. The state government has now released the Dove Lake Viewing Shelter Development Proposal and Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS) for public comment.

This is the first release of plans for the shelter which is planned for Dove Lake. Other key components of the proposal are a redevelopment of the tourist ‘gateway’ facilities to the north and the building of a gondola/ cable car between the new tourist centre and Dove Lake (the cable car component of the plan got the green light in May when former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced $30 million for the project). The DPEIS will be on display for six weeks. According to the government, “feedback from the community will help refine the Development Approval that will be submitted to the Kentish Council. Once all approvals have been obtained, the construction works will be tendered late this year”.

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Construction of cable car at Dove Lake one step closer

There has been a long public debate about the re-development of the northern end of the Cradle Mountain Lakes St Clair national park. The Tasmanian government has previously approved a revitalisation of facilities, which will see a new “gateway precinct” for the park. This will happen outside the park boundary and is generally not seen as being contentious.

What is more contested is a proposal to build a cable car from the new ‘gateway precinct’ to Dove Lake.

It has now been announced that the government is “sounding out interests for a public-private partnership to undertake the redevelopment of the Cradle Mountain visitor centre, as part of its potentially $160 million “Cradle Mountain Master Plan” to give the area a much-needed facelift”.

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Cradle Mountain Film Fest

Come up to Cradle Mountain, Tasmania from April 6 to 8 2018 for a weekend of adventure and film.

We are chuffed to be hosting the Tasmanian exclusive screening of Mountainfilm On Tour all the way from Telluride, Colorado at Cradle Mountain. Mountainfilm is a fantastic festival that showcases the best of the world’s adventure films.

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The environment and the Tasmanian election

The Tasmanian election is largely being fought on ‘bread and butter’ issues like health, jobs and education. Gambling and the future of pokies is also a significant issue. But around the edges of debate there are some interesting promises and policy commitments around the natural environment.

While environment debate during elections tends to focus on forestry issues, this time, the future of existing national parks and reserves has been more dominant. With Tasmania looking to develop new tourism opportunities, especially in the realm of nature-based tourism, the park system is seen as the next frontier by the state government, which has been pursuing private development with national parks.

The following covers some of the debate and policy being announced about the natural environment in Tasmania. The election will be held on March 3. It does not seek to cover broader energy or climate issues.

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Construction starts on Cradle Mountain tourist centre

In 2016 a new tourism plan for northern Tasmania has launched, which raised the possibility of there being new developments adjacent to the Cradle Mountain National Park. Its key intention was to greatly increase visitors to the north of the state.

Part of the detail of the plan included a ‘cable car’/ gondola which would run from just outside the northern boundary of the park into the park at Dove Lake. The cornerstone of the proposal was the development of new tourist centre, which is where the gondola would start from.

This week saw construction start on the $21.8 million ‘gateway precinct’ (ie new tourist centre) and Dove Lake re-development. According to Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin, the start of construction was “a significant day of epic proportion”.

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Tasmanian ALP pledges $30 million to Cradle Mountain cable car

In a worrying move, the ALP in Tasmania has announced that it will allocate $30 million if they win the next state election towards the cable car which is planned for the Cradle Mountain National Park in Tasmania.

The idea for a cable car was raised in a Master Plan for the Cradle Valley section of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park, which was developed by the Cradle Coast Authority.

The cable car would connect the Cradle Mountain visitor centre to Dove Lake. Construction of the cable car would require the Commonwealth Government to chip in another $30 million.

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1,700 years of climate history in Tasmania’s King Billy Pine

This is a fantastic story. Anyone who has walked in the mountains of central and western Tasmania is probably familiar with the King Billy Pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides). Individual trees can live for more than 1,00 years. It is one of the conifers that are endemic to Tasmania and exists only within a very limited range of habitat. Fire threatens the species (one third of its habitat was burnt in the twentieth century), and climate change is expected to increase the severity of fire seasons in future.

The following article outlines a research project that used core samples from King Billy trees to develop a better understanding of climate in Tasmania in previous centuries. It is available here.

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Alpine haven of Daisy Dell gets logging reprieve

Many people who have been into Cradle Valley will have driven past Daisy Dell, on the Middlesex Plains, just to the north and east of the park entry. This is great news: an area earmarked for clear-felling is set to be protected from logging and development forever after a Tasmanian Land Conservancy fundraising campaign. It was originally published in the Sunday Tasmanian on the weekend of Dec 3 & 4, 2016. The journalist is Helen Kempton.

Continue reading “Alpine haven of Daisy Dell gets logging reprieve”

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