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News, Conservation and Engagement - June

There are plans to log a total of 11 coupes of mature forest in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, in an area of state forest next to the Alpine National Park. This area is especially important because it has not been burnt in recent decades. Friends of the Earth urge concerned Victorians to help protect the Little Dargo.

 

Following the success of its first six months’ operation, bookings for the Grampians Peaks Trail have now opened for the period 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.

Many walkers use apps to identify birds, flora and fauna. Less well-known is The Waterbug App. As well as helping to identify waterbugs, the updated version allows users to complete a survey to monitor the health of their local waterways or wetlands.

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Great Walk’s ‘Wilderness Photographer of the Year’ competition, which celebrates images of the great outdoors from anywhere around the world, is now open. Entries close 24 October.

BTAC reports that Jan’s Hut in the Thomson Valley, which was significantly damaged by a falling tree in 2021, has been repaired by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and its contractors. The restoration, using older iron, was done with great sensitivity for the hut’s heritage value and appearance – a fantastic job.

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Images: Friends of the Earth Melbourne; The Waterbug App; DELWP

Walking in Winter

Staying dry and warm on a winter bushwalk can be challenging. Here are some seasonal reminders to make sure that you’re equipped with the right clothing, gear, food and knowledge to help you deal with whatever the weather throws at you.

  • Carry and wear suitable clothing to protect yourself from cold temperatures, particularly when combined with rain and wind.
  • Use layering under waterproof gear, but avoid wearing too many clothes, or you may become wet from perspiration and condensation.
  • Ensure a regular intake of high-calorie food and drink. Do not drink alcohol, which accelerates heat loss.
  • On overnight walks, be self-sufficient: you should not rely on reaching mountain huts for shelter.
  • Prevent physical exhaustion: walk within your party's capabilities.
  • Know how to recognise and treat hypothermia. Be aware of its early signs; take into account that long stops, or immobilisation due to injury, increase susceptibility.
  • Take particular care when walking with more susceptible people, such as young children, slightly-built or less fit individuals.

The Bushwalking Manual provides excellent, detailed information and advice on how to keep warm in adverse conditions and the recognition and management of cold-related illnesses such as hypothermia and frostbite. If you love the high mountains in winter, there are sections on snowshoeing, ski-touring (or ‘bushwalking on skis’) and snow camping – this includes instructions and safety considerations for pitching tents on snow, and building snow caves and igloos.

Border BC snow image

 

Image: Border BC

Add your Voice!

A respectable member of the Bushwalking Tracks and Conservation (BTAC) team recently said: “There’s not enough emphasis on the C-word”. Momentary consternation, then…oh, that word: Conservation! Protecting forests, rivers, waterways and wildlife for ourselves and for future generations. Bushwalkers state-wide share concerns that the walking track network in places we love is being affected by logging, invasive species, incursion of mountain bike tracks and growing development within National Parks.


It can be easy to feel disenfranchised, especially when we don’t hear about new projects or developments until after plans are well underway. Rather than feeling powerless, clubs and individuals are encouraged to register with Engage Victoria, the Victorian Government’s online consultation platform. It enables people to contribute their ideas to consultation processes and participate in the development of government policies and programs.
By becoming informed and proactive, bushwalkers can guarantee that their concerns about conservation are taken into account at an early stage in any planning process. Bushwalking Victoria and BTAC frequently add their voice to conservation debates: why not add yours? The more voices the better.

Grampians Peaks Trail Maps

After opening late last year, the 164km Grampians Peaks Trail has proved immensely popular. Walkers will find these excellent Parks Victoria maps invaluable. Each map (at a scale of 1:50:000) covers one area – Northern, Central or Southern – and includes an altitude profile, section summaries, track notes and useful information on planning, trail access, hike-in campgrounds and emergency information.

After being unavailable for several months, the maps are now back in stock at specialist map suppliers, some outdoor shops and several suppliers in the Grampians/Gariwerd region.

It’s important to note that some experienced bushwalkers report that the suggested daily walking times are appreciably understated. In addition, each day’s walk duration and distance excludes all side trips, many of which – such as the ascent of Briggs Bluff and Mt Difficult – are immensely rewarding, but can add up to 2 hours to your day.

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