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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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World Heritage

“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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Keep It Wild

Australians have campaigned for decades to protect our remaining wild ecosystems. From the Franklin River to the Daintree, Arnhem Land to the Alps to south west WA, many hundreds of campaigns have seen the creation of an incredible conservation estate. But as the saying goes, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Now we must be ready to defend these wild places, which once seemed safely preserved, from a range of new threats. The obvious one is climate change. But there is also a more localised and immediate threat: there are many plans to open up reserves to logging, commercial tourism and mining.

These proposals are being resisted locally wherever they arise. But unless you’re a part of a local group it can be hard to know about what threats are arising and where.

Keep It Wild is a great initiative which seeks to bring together the various threats to the conservation estate to help people to get active.

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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”.

Continue reading “Details of Dove Lake development revealed.”

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”

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”.

Continue reading “Construction of cable car at Dove Lake one step closer”

UNESCO concerned at TAS Gov rezoning wilderness areas to allow development

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 these attempts to open up parks to commercial interests have been resisted – with varying degrees of success – over the years.

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).

This is being resisted strongly by many in the Tasmanian community and it is now being criticised internationally.

Continue reading “UNESCO concerned at TAS Gov rezoning wilderness areas to allow development”

New hut opened at Frenchmans Cap

Lake Tahune sits beneath the main face of Frenchmans Cap in south west Tasmania and the hut, nestled slightly above the lake, can be a real God send in bad conditions. While the old hut certainly did the job of providing a dry space to gather and sleep in an often cold and wet place, it was as if it was designed to ignore its surroundings.

This new one is certainly a lot nicer looking and it honours the magnificent terrain it is located in, with much larger windows and lots more natural light.

Continue reading “New hut opened at Frenchmans Cap”

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