Along with the rest of the community, we are concerned about and monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are thinking of you, your families and friends. The safety and health of our members, volunteers, supporters, staff and the Victorian community are our first priority - we are following the advice of health experts and the government.
Bushwalking Victoria activities
Further to increasing COVID-19 restrictions, please note that most Bushwalking Victoria activities have been cancelled until end of June 2020. This includes training, BTAC activities, the Leadership forum and all other face-to-face activities. A separate advice will be sent about the AGM.
Bushwalking Victoria admin and support is continuing but the office at Westerfolds Park is now closed until further notice.
Advice to bushwalking and outdoors clubs
The Bushwalking Victoria Board advises all bushwalking and outdoors clubs to:
Postpone or cancel face-to-face events, meetings and activities at least until the end of June 2020.
Remove activities listed on websites or mark them as cancelled with an explanation and do not distribute activity programs until the end of June 2020.
Follow Victorian state government directions, rules and advice on COVID-19.
For the future
We look forward to everyone resuming and enjoying bushwalking and outdoor activities when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
Bushwalking Victoria calls for logging to be suspended in all native forests until a full and proper assessment of the impact of the bushfires is completed, including loss of habitat and impact on biodiversity of flora and fauna.
Very large areas of forests have been burnt and large number of native animals killed. This has had major impacts on native plants and animals, including threatened species and their habitat.
Logging of significant old growth native forest is proceeding in the Kalatha Valley and elsewhere near Toolangi and Warburton in the Central Highlands close to Melbourne. These remaining forests are popular with bushwalkers, locals and tourists and they provide habitat vital for several threatened species including Leadbeaters possum, the Spot-tailed quoll and the Powerful owl.
Scientists including Professor David Lindenmayer and Dr Chris Taylor have also advised their research demonstrates that logging makes native forests more prone to fire. The safety of local communities and bushwalkers visiting forests must take precedence over commercial logging.
The salvage logging that is proceeding in some fire-affected forests in Gippsland will compromise the recovery of these forests and is destroying the remaining habitat of native animals that survived the bushfires. This must also be halted.
All logging in native forests should be suspended until rigorous and thorough scientific studies assessing the impact of the catastrophic 2019-20 bushfires in Victoria are completed.
Peter Campbell, Enviroment Spokesperson, Bushwalking Victoria
While the chances of a snake bite are fairly low the consequences of a snake bite can be very serious or even fatal. Most venomous snake bites in Victoria are from tiger or brown snakes.
There are 100 to 200 severe cases of snake bite that need antivenom in Australia each year. Half of all cases involve people interfering with snakes and one in ten cases are snake handlers. More about statistics are here.
Snakes may occasionally be encountered while bushwalking. Unprovoked, snakes rarely attack humans. Therefore, do not disturb a snake in your path and alert other members of your party to give it a wide berth. Always wear stout footwear and be observant. Take particular care in warm weather, long grass, hollow logs, near water or rocks in sunny positions.Watch and look out when stepping over logs or gathering firewood.
Wear long trousers and/or gaiters in areas where snakes are prevalent. Snakes cannot hear but they can detect vibrations through the ground, so walking heavily (stomping) may warn them of your presence and encourage them to flee from your path. When camping, use a tent with an integral floor and always zip up the doors. Use a torch at night.
While some victims know they have been bitten, some do not. Symptoms may appear 15 minutes to 2 hours after the bite and may be mild or severe, depending on the species and the bite. Symptoms include double vision, headache, nausea and vomiting, sweating, faintness, diarrhoea, chest pain, difficulty swallowing or breathing, swollen lymph glands in groin or armpit, drowsiness.
Seek immediate medical help by calling 000 Emergency Services and advise the walker's emergency contact person.
The principle of the treatment of snake bites is to slow the movement of the venom in the body down by keeping as STILL as possible and apply firm pressure at the entry point.
When it bites, a snake injects venom into tissue, not directly into your bloodstream. Venom then travels from tissue fluid into the lymphatic system and will eventually flow into veins then enter the bloodstream. Applying a pressure bandage around the location of the snake bite and immobilising the patient slows down the movement of lymph fluid.
The lower leg is the most vulnerable to a snake bite when bushwalking. When someone is bitten:
Immediately apply firm pressure over the bite site.
Lay the victim down and keep them calm and at complete rest.
Apply a broad firm bandage to the bitten area and around as much of the limb as possible, without removing clothing if this means moving the limb. Bandage as tightly as for a sprain and work up the limb to include the joint above the bite site. Bandages with indicators showing the compression applied are recommended.
Immobilize the limb with a makeshift splint.
Constantly observe the patient for shock and respiratory failure. Dispatch other members of the party with knowledge of your location to bring outside help to transport the patient.
If external help is unavailable, the best option is probably to rest for a day or two then proceed to the nearest civilisation taking care to minimize stress to the patient.
Do NOT remove bandages or splints on reaching medical care, the treating doctor will make that decision.
DO NOT deliberately disturb or try to kill a snake. DO NOT walk in sandals or thongs. DO NOT cut the location of the bite.
DO NOT wash the skin - traces of venom left behind might be needed by medical personnel to identify the snake
DO NOT apply an arterial tourniquet. DO NOT attempt to suck the poison from the site of the bite.