Many of us know the feeling of freedom we feel with nothing but walking shoes on our feet and a backpack on our back. But whether on foot or bike, we all need and deserve forests for recreation and play in our lives – and without having to drive hours and hours for it.
With endless options for exploration on foot including the Beeripmo walk winding through the magnificent forests of Mount Cole, or the Lerderderg River Heritage Walk in the Wombat Forest, the western forests have walks and recreation to accommodate all recreation needs.
With population growth booming in the west, so to do the opportunities and areas to support our respectful recreation needs, to be of service to our growing community.
Without this protection our walking trails could wind through recently logged bulldozer trails rather than cool forested gullies
New national parks protect nature whilst most recreational activities are actively encouraged including camping, bushwalking, horse riding and mountain biking(on tracks), with the rules regarding activities, such as 4×4 driving, are the same as other types of parks and public forest.
Victoria’s parks estate contributes $2.1 billion annually to the economy through park visitors and tourism supporting at least 20,000 jobs across the state.
Without this protection our walking trails could wind through recently logged bulldozer trails rather than cool forested gullies.
Expert recommendations to create new national parks:
The VEAC recommendations include almost 60,000 hectares of new national park and reserves for the Mount Cole and Pyrenees Ranges (near Beaufort and Avoca), and the Wombat (near Daylesford) and Wellsford (near Bendigo) Forests. In addition 19,000 hectares of regional park allow almost all forms of recreation.
Under legislation, the Victorian Government was required to formally respond to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council Final Report, on the first sitting day six months after being tabled in Parliament. The VEAC report was tabled on 15 August 2019. Legally a response was required in the last sitting week of February 2020, and is now well overdue.
Image © Sandy Scheltema