Snow gums knocked down on Corn Hill Ridgeline Track
Since 2008 the Victorian National Parks Association and local groups have objected to a number of planning applications for a link road connecting Mt Buller and Mt Stirling, arguing it would result in the clearing of old growth alpine forest.
So it came as a shock to discover that the old Ridgeline Track had been turned into a new 4-metre wide road without any announcement.
The destruction comes just six months after an attempt to cut that road through the intact forests of Corn Hill and across the headwaters of the Delatite River was rejected by Victoria's planning minister.
Scores of trees, mainly slow-growing snow gums, have been knocked over, chainsawed or smashed, presumably by a bulldozer blade.
The western section of the track is now littered with dangerously overhanging trees that will certainly fall onto the road during conditions of saturated soil, high winds and/or frost heave.
The Mansfield Courier reports that the Mount Buller Mount Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board defended the current works as 'routine maintenance' for fire preparedness and visitor safety and that they have no relation to the Buller-Stirling Link Road proposal.
The board is also reportedly adamant that 'works are within the existing track formation and no widening has occurred'.
Seems like a lot of fairly large trees cleared in the name of routine mananagement.
We have written to Victoria's environment minister and the planning minister seeking an explanation. There has also been an application for all the relevant documents under Freedom of Information.
This story was first published in the December 2015 edition of our magazine Park Watch, available online.