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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Tourism

Cable car public meeting

Mount Wellington Cableway Company (MWCC) want to build a cablecar up the face of kunanyi/ Mt Wellington, in Hobart. This is being resisted by a determined community based campaign. MWCC have organised two public meetings for South Hobart residents and then cancelled them at the last minute. South Hobart Progress Association have therefore decided to organise their own meeting – focusing on the impact 180,000 extra cars a year will have on South Hobart residents. It will happen on August 24. All welcome.

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‘Eternal vigilance is the price of Freedom’

Tasmania has a world class conservation system. From the South West Wilderness to the Central Plateau, to the Ben Lomond tablelands, it is brimming with wonderful landscapes that are protected as national parks, world heritage or other forms of park. But these parks didn’t just happen. All of them are the result of tireless work by many thousands of people, sometimes over decades.

From the attempts to stop Lake Pedder from being flooded in the 1970s, the Franklin River campaign of the early 1980s, and the long forest campaigns that followed in places like the Styx, the Florentine, Lemonthyme, and the Great Western Tiers, through to the current attempts to ensure proper protection for the Tarkine / takayna region in the north west, people have campaigned for decades to see these areas protected for all time.

Climate change poses an existential threat to many of the natural ecosystems currently protected in the park network. But there is also a pushback by government and some vested interests and sections of the community against the basic notion of protecting these places.

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Tourism: Is more always better?

In New South Wales, the number of visits to the state’s national parks is topping more than 60 million for the first time. This is great news for regional economies – these visits generated as much as $21.35 billion in spending. It also puts pressure on our national parks and other natural areas. This highlights the need for governments to provide adequate funds for the upkeep of our parks and to manage the impacts of ever more visitors on the natural systems in the parks.

There is an interesting program underway in Colorado, which is seeking to decentralise the visitation of tourists rather than encourage more people to visit. Colorado is a huge tourism destination and this generates enormous income. However, it also causes problems for roads, resorts, national parks and local residents. In 2017, the Colorado Tourism Roadmap transformed the state’s call to encourage more tourists to visit into a more focused campaign promoting sustainable travel experiences.

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New ‘iconic’ walk with private huts planned for Tasmania’s Tyndall Range

Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman has announced that ‘Tasmania’s wild West Coast has been chosen as the preferred location for our Next Iconic Walk’.

The area selected is the remote and wild Tyndall Range. This ‘iconic walk’ will be similar to the Overland and Three Capes Tracks, where private hut networks have been built. The Range is known for its rock climbing on conglomerate cliffs up to 300m in height, glacial lakes and alpine areas and ‘out of the way’ nature.

The government says “A signature Liberal election commitment, up to $20 million will be invested to deliver our next iconic multi-day, hut-based walk which will enhance the visitor economy throughout the entire region”. According to the proponent, the proposal includes the option of “a private walking company .. investing in the development of private lodges similar to that of Three Capes Track”.

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Lake Malbena developer appeals refusal of project

In February this year, the Central Highlands Council in Tasmania rejected the Lake Malbena tourism development.

The controversial ‘helicopter tourism’ development planned for Halls Island in Lake Malbena on Tasmania’s central plateau had previously been approved by state and federal governments. The local Council was the last government authority which needed to sign off on the project. It had been hoped that the rejection by Council would be the end of the proposal.

However, the developer has lodged an appeal against this decision. Hearings are currently underway in Hobart.

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(Another) vigil for the mountain

As the long campaign against the cable car planned for kunanyi/ Mt Wellington continues, the residents group Respect the Mountain is keeping the pressure on the developer and all levels of government involved in the approvals process.

They have now announced there will be a peaceful vigil outside the Wellington Park Management Trust Meeting to highlight the Trusts continued involvement in ‘pushing this inappropriate proposal for the people’s mountain’.

The Trust has an important role in looking after the mountain but has been criticised by many in the community during the campaign.

DETAILS

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 9 AM – 10 AM

Facebook page (will have extra info and updates closer to the day) available here.

Australia’s conservation reserves under threat from commercialisation

Millions of Australians have worked hard to gain protection of our wild places over many decades. The national parks and other conservation areas that have been created as a result of these efforts protect some of our wildest and greatest landscapes.

In recent years it has become clear that climate change poses a grave – and in some cases existential – threat to many of these places. Then there is the threat of invasive plant and animal species, fragmentation of habitat due to clearing and logging in areas next to reserves, etc.

A more insidious threat has been the slow shift by both state and federal governments to consider, or actively support, commercial operations in our conservation reserves.

This is well underway in Tasmania, with private commercial developments along the Overland Track, and plans for other operations in many parts of the state.

Recent examples include the plan to allow ‘helicopter tourism’ and a small commercial operation inside the Walls of Jerusalem national park in Central Tasmania and a plan to build a cable car into the famous Dove Lake, near Cradle Mountain. In some instances, land is being removed from parks to allow various forms of development.

A recent report shows the scale of this threat.

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Central Highlands Council rejects tourism development in World Heritage Area

In a significant move, the Lake Malbena tourism development has been rejected by the Central Highlands Council.

The controversial ‘helicopter tourism’ development planned for Halls Island in Lake Malbena on Tasmania’s central plateau had previously been approved by state and federal governments. One of the first acts of the Morrison government was to greenlight a private tourism development with helicopter access in Tasmanian world heritage wilderness against the recommendation of an expert advisory body. The local Council was the last government authority which needed to sign off on the project.

The final vote happened at a packed meeting held on February 26, with three councillors voting for, and six against the proposal.

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Senate calls for a full assessment of the Lake Malbena development

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, despite three official expert bodies lashing the proposal or calling for it to be rejected.

The decision threatens to open the floodgate to a host of other private tourism operations proposed for the World Heritage-listed area.

In a new development, the senate has called on federal Environment Minister Melissa Price to conduct a full assessment of the Lake Malbena development, including public consultation.

Continue reading “Senate calls for a full assessment of the Lake Malbena development”

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