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Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Master Plan

May 2018. Final Master Plan for Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing

The final master plan for the proposed development of the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing has been released by Parks Victoria and is available [here]. The proposed route uses much of the existing Alpine Walking Track. However, it also includes the development of a formed track from the West Kiewa River up Diamantina Spur and the building of commercial lodge accommodation ("operated huts") near the top of Diamantina Spur within the Alpine National Park.
 
 
 
Mount Feathertop looking along the Razorback from Mount Hotham. Photo: Peter Campbell

 

Bushwalking Victoria has previously advised Parks Victoria that we don't support building new lodge accommodation on Diamantina Spur as it will greatly compromise landscape values on the eastern side of Mount Feathertop and the Razorback, an area where there is currently no built infrastructure.  The wildness of Diamantina Spur is greatly appreciated by bushwalkers and backcountry skiers. This experience will be greatly impacted by building lodges and provisioning them with regular helicopter flights.

A much better alternative is for walkers to use the existing Alpine Walking Track via Cobungra Gap to Mount Hotham then access Mount Feathertop via the Razorback track and use Federation Hut and nearby campsites for an overnight stay.

You can provide feedback about the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing to the Bushwalking Victoria Board using this form.

You could also contact your local state Member of Parliament (via telephone, meeting or email) and advise them of your concerns.

For more background information on this topic, click here.


Peter Campbell
President, Bushwalking Victoria
 
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Dec 2016. Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Excludes Recreational Bushwalkers and Impacts Landscape Values            

Parks Victoria released a Draft Master Plan for the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing before Christmas.

Bushwalking Victoria has major concerns with this proposal, including:

  • Recreational walkers must not be excluded to benefit commercial operators. The plan states that recreational walkers will not be allowed to camp "within 100m of the trail" and they must have a permit to use designated campsites.
  • Many of the luxury huts for "high yield visitors" will have major visual and environmental impact, contrary to claims in the plan.
  • Diamantina spur is a difficult bushwalking route and a pristine alpine environment. Building a formed and benched trail up it and huts on it will destroy its natural qualities and appeal.
  • Many other high quality tracks and trails across Victoria are falling into disrepair and some are closed due to lack of funding. The regional economic benefits of maintaining bushwalking tracks for visitors should be spread across Victoria rather than most funds being directed to only a few "Icon Walks".
  • Safety issues have not been considered. Parties striving to reach huts in adverse alpine weather in the Victorian Alps have met with tragedy on several occasions.

Our Media Release has more information about our concerns with the Draft Master Plan.

Please provide your feedback to Parks Victoria about the proposal. Submissions are due by Friday, 27 January 2017.

You can download a submission form from Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Master Plan and email your feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Peter Campbell
President, Bushwalking Victoria
M: 0409 417 504

Other links:

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Dec 2015

 

 
 

Update AAAS

 

Volunteer bushwalkers are NOT required to comply with the AAAS

Bushwalking Victoria has analysed the AAAS Core and Bushwalking Standards and consider that most of the content is either not relevant to or far exceeds the needs of volunteer bushwalking activities.

The AAAS are designated as "voluntary" and are not enacted or authorised by any Act of Parliament or other legislative instrument.  

The Minister for Sport, John Eren MP, has advised that there is no current intention to mandate the use of the AAAS on behalf of relevant jurisdictions, including the Department of Health and Human Services, Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning.

The Minister for Energy, Environment & Climate Change, Lily D'Ambrosio MP, has advised that on their own, the standards have no legal status and there is no requirement to comply with them.

Volunteer bushwalkers cannot and should not be required to comply with the Core AAAS, Bushwalking AAAS or Camping AAAS.

Any attempts in the future to do so will be vigorously opposed, as will any other similar restrictions or impediments that would enable commercial interests to override the rights of community-based clubs to access and enjoy public land.

Community based volunteer bushwalking trip leaders will continue to responsibly manage trip safety by using and contributing to the body of knowledge that informs and supports safe and enjoyable bushwalking.

Our full statement on the AAAS is here: http://bit.ly/BWV-AAAS-Statement

 

AAAS Forum - 28 November 2017

A forum to update President's and committee members of Bushwalking Clubs was held on 28 November 2017 at Melbourne Bushwalkers Club Rooms. The following documentation relate to the presentations given:

 

Petition

Thanks to many people who have contacted their local Member for Parliament to raise concerns with the likely impacts of Australian Adventure Activity Standards on volunteer community-based bushwalkers.

Many MPs and Minister Eren have responded stating that they don't believe that the AAAS will impact our bushwalking. However, our most recent advice is that this is not the case. Our ongoing concerns are:

The "standards" specify over 20 "national competencies" that are designed for professional operators. It is unrealistic and inappropriate to expect volunteer bushwalkers to attempt to prove they meet these competencies.

The standards are NOT voluntary if land managers, courts and insurance companies all consider that they apply to volunteer bushwalkers. The AAAS currently explicitly apply to volunteer bushwalking leaders and clubs.

Read more ...

We defend equal access for bushwalkers and preservation of landscape values on Falls to Hotham Icon Walk

20/12/16. 

Recreational walkers must have equal access to the Falls to Hotham Icon Walk being developed by Parks Victoria and not be excluded to benefit commercial operators.

The Parks Victoria Draft Management Plan (DMP) currently states that there will be new restrictions on where recreational bushwalkers will be allowed to camp, and that commercial groups will have priority for booking limited campsites.

Bushwalking Victoria seeks to encourage more people to go bushwalking, but we think the restrictions proposed for the Falls to Hotham Walk may have the reverse effect.

We support the concept of Icon Walks, but are concerned these walks will exclude local recreational bushwalkers in favour of commercial tour groups.

We are also concerned that the proposal to develop a route up Diamantina Spur with luxury cabins built up high will have a negative impact on landscape values and may encourage less experienced groups to attempt to reach the cabins for shelter in dangerous inclement weather.

Commercial development, including building camping platforms and cabins, must not destroy the qualities of natural bush and alpine areas that bushwalkers visit.  Some of the proposed cabins are planned to be situated for panoramic views, but the DMP says built structures should have minimal visual impact – it is extremely difficult to achieve both outcomes.

Victoria's Alpine National Park is for everyone to enjoy and we do not want to see inappropriate commercial development compromise the landscape values of the park.

Bushwalking Victoria is also keen for more funds to be allocated for the maintenance of bushwalking tracks across Victoria, not just for Icon Walks.

Peter Campbell, President

0409 417 504 

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