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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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public lands

What’s happening with the wild horse cull in Victoria?

Recently, the Australian Brumby Alliance (ABA) lost a long-running Federal Court case against Parks Victoria. The ABA had objected to plans to cull feral horses in the Victorian Alps. Parks Victoria will now begin culling horses in the alps, where horse numbers have soared over the past five years. The biggest herds of wild horses are in NSW’s Kosciuszko National Park. However, due to NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro, wild horses enjoy heritage protection in that state, and they continually move across the border into Victoria and boost numbers there.

What has happened since then?

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Malbena Rally: Rewild Launceston!

The long campaign against commercial tourist developments in national parks and World Heritage Areas continues.

A flash point  in this campaign is the ‘eco tourism’ development planned for Lake Malbena will introduce ‘helicopter tourism’ to the central plateau of Tasmania. Approvals have been ‘waved through’ by the federal government, and then been bogged down in legal processes.

To highlight opposition to ‘helicopter tourism’, The Wilderness Society and Walkers and Fishers Against Helicopter Access Tasmania have organised a rally in Launceston on Sunday April 5.

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Is road safety work also ‘logging by stealth’?

Following this summer’s devastating fires in East Gippsland, it has taken enormous effort by the authorities to get roads re-opened and made safe. Removal of many thousands of fire affected trees is essential for the safety of road users. However, the scale of the clear felling of large habitat trees occurring along thousands of kilometres of East Gippsland’s roads has disturbed many people.

Residents describe ‘unprecedented clearing’ occurring around Buchan, Black Mountain, Combienbar, Orbost, Goongerah, Cann River, Mallacoota, Cape Conran, state forests inland from Bairnsdale, along the Great Alpine Way and many other fire affected roads in East Gippsland.

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Does Victoria need a new remote area volunteer firefighting force?

On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2019, a front brought a smattering of rain across the Victorian mountains, barely enough to damp down the dust. But the associated lightning storm started dozens of new fires in a long belt from Mt Buller to the NSW border.

Forest Fire Management crews swung into action and many of these were quickly put out. Aerial bombing dealt with others. But there were simply too many, and some grew into massive blazes, including the fires that went on to devastate the forests and landscapes of East Gippsland in coming weeks.

This raises the question: Do we need a new remote area volunteer firefighting force in Victoria who could help suppress lightning strike fires before they take off?

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Parks Victoria seeks feedback on wild horse removal program

Feral horse levels in the Alpine National Park are at critical levels. Their hard hooves cause serious damage to the sensitive alpine environment. Without intervention, their impacts will cause severe long-term harm to the park’s special endangered native alpine wildlife and plant species.

Parks Victoria (PV) is expanding it’s horse removal program in the Eastern Alps and seeks your feedback. Feedback closes on 2 February.

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Victorian Government moves on invasive animals

Wild deer cause massive damage across the Alps and many other forested parts of south eastern Australia. The Victorian Government has accepted most of the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry into the Control of Invasive Animals on Crown Land. Significantly, the government has acknowledged that recreational hunting is generally an ineffective means of invasive animal control and announced that feral cats will be declared pest animals on public land, allowing more effective control programs.

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The Empire strikes back

Fossil fuel interests are one of the forces behind the backlash against pro-environment outdoor brands

It is hardly news to note that President Trump has launched a significant and sustained attack on the environment. Apart from withdrawing from the international climate change agreement, winding back support for renewable energy, seeking to open up new sections of the Arctic to fossil fuel production, he has cut federal protection for major federal reserves (for a good summary of his actions so far check this page).

This wind back has been strongly opposed by environmental groups and First Nations. Many sectors of business are also taking the unusual step of getting active. For instance, recently 350 companies wrote to the President, urging him to abandon his attempt to reduce protection to iconic and much loved landscapes across the USA.

In recent weeks the President has radically reduced the size of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante national monuments.

Continue reading “The Empire strikes back”

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