The Mt Stirling Summit Tree is unique. It is the only tree on the mountain’s 23 hectare grassy summit and is remarkable for its large size, high altitude, great age, and its solitary status.
And now this magnificent Snow Gum has been recognised by the National Trusts of Australia’s Register of Significant Trees. It is also in the running to be voted Victorian Tree of the year, so make sure you vote by July 31.
There are very few trees above 1700 metres on Mt Stirling, and those that survive are stunted by the cold.
By contrast, the Stirling Summit Tree is large and extremely hardy. In winter it can be completely buried in snow, the only sign of its presence being a snowy mound. In summer it thrives and often flowers.
Most of its canopy is metres above ground level, helping it survive a number of fires that have swept over the summit area.
Each of its three trunks is more than a metre in circumference, and at its base the summit tree is just over 3 metres in girth.
The summit tree has become an icon of Mt Stirling, drawing towards it bushwalkers, cross-country skiers, horse riders, photographers and others who visit the mountain.
The tree does lie in close proximity to the Stirling Summit Track, which the Victorian National Parks Association believes should now be closed to all but management vehicles.
The entire Mt Stirling area should be managed as a national park by linking it to the Alpine National Park and handing its management to Parks Victoria.
It could then be managed as an integral part of Victoria’s largest national park, improving ecological management, recreation experiences and the overall integrity of our alpine region.
The Mt Stirling Summit Tree was nominated for listing by the Friends of Mt Stirling and the Victorian National Parks Association.