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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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national parks

Victoria’s national parks for sale – again

National Parks, World Heritage Areas and other parts of the conservation estate are not simply handed to the community by governments. Wild areas are hard fought for, sometimes for decades, before they gain protection. But once created, that is not the end of the story. Traditionally parks can face a range of problems and pressures, including under funding and over use, and invasion by feral species. In recent years it has become ever more apparent that climate change poses a huge threat to most ecosystems in the country, and hence the integrity of our national parks.

They are sometimes also threatened by proposals for commercial development. The following summary of current threats to national parks in Victoria comes from Phil Ingamells.

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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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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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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.

Continue reading “Thirty years of co-operative management of the Alps”

Strengthening Parks Victoria – Your vision for parks

Parks Victoria is asking the community to ‘share your experiences, expectations and aspirations for parks’ via a website and series of community forums. This is happening as part of the Strengthening Parks Victoria project.

PV says:

‘As part of the Strengthening Parks Victoria project, we will be looking at your stories, comments, and advice to us, to help better understand what values parks have to you, and what we can do to enhance your enjoyment of Victoria’s incredible natural settings.

This information will help us to celebrate with you the spectacular landscapes, habitats and places we have managed for nearly 20 years, and understand how we must evolve in the future to deliver the best outcomes for Victorians, visitors, our economies, and the incredible Country we care for.’

On their website you can:

Tell PV about how you enjoy and experience Victoria’s parks

Provide ideas on how to improve the experience of visiting parks

Ethics, Culture and Wild Horses

Mountain Journal has often featured pieces on the issue of wild horses in the Australian High Country.

Public debate has hit a recent high point because both Victoria and NSW have updated their positions on horse management, with both states noting the significant negative environmental impacts of this introduced species.

The following article comes from The Conversation, and is by ecologist Don Driscoll who notes that while many in Australia hold a ‘cultural affiliation with horses’ there are other ways to celebrate this connection than ‘by having horses in fragile alpine ecosystems where they cause environmental damage’.

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Monaro Ngarigo people to be formally involved in management of Kosciuszko NP

The Aboriginal people of the New South Wales southern Snowy Mountains will be formally involved in the conservation of Kosciuszko National Park, after reaching an agreement years in the making.

The following story comes from the ABC.

Continue reading “Monaro Ngarigo people to be formally involved in management of Kosciuszko NP”

90% of Snowy Mountains brumbies to be culled

The Guardian is reporting that 90% of the Snowy Mountains brumbies would be culled over the next two decades, under a plan released by the New South Wales government.

The draft wild horse management plan for Kosciuszko national park aims to cut the population of wild horses in the park from 6,000 to about 3,000 in the next five to 10 years.

The population would be dramatically slashed to just 600 within 20 years, confining the wild horses to three locations inside the national park.

Current numbers of wild horses were unsustainable and the animals were damaging the park’s fragile alpine and subalpine landscapes, the NSW environment minister, Mark Speakman, said.

 

Tourism in national parks. When is enough enough?

Mountain Journal has previously covered the release of a proposed Master Plan for the Cradle Valley section of the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park, which was developed by the Cradle Coast Authority. We highlighted some of the positive aspects of the proposal here.

However, a cornerstone of the proposal is a cable car, which would run from a new tourist centre to the north of the park boundary to Crater Lake. The Authority says ‘the Cable Car is the core element of the Cradle Mountain concept.’

A recent article by Nicholas Sawyer in The Mercury provides some thoughtful views about the proposal for a cable car and the broader issue of how tourism interacts with our national parks.

Continue reading “Tourism in national parks. When is enough enough?”

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