A plan for Victoria’s high country national parks that tackles head on the key threats of climate change, weeds, feral horses and deer must be fully resourced if it is to succeed.
“The national parks of Victoria’s alpine region are highly vulnerable to climate change, and out-of-control populations of hard-hooved feral horses and deer are causing great damage, as well as a number of weed invasions,” Victorian National Parks Association spokesperson Phil Ingamells said.
“Parks Victoria has produced a management plan for all of our high country national parks that clearly recognises these threats.
“It is crucial Parks Victoria is now given the resources, both in terms of funds and the necessary skills, to manage our parks so that future generations can see them at their best.
“Our alpine parks are among Victoria’s most remarkable protected areas, but they are also among our most vulnerable to a changing climate. It will be important to ensure we base future management on the very best climate science, as the plan recommends,” Mr Ingamells said.
“We are pleased the plan clearly outlines the considerable damage inflicted on the Alpine National Park by feral horses and deer. The next step is to clarify and implement strategies to significantly end the damage hard-hooved animals are causing, particularly to the park’s important wetlands and waterways.
“Dealing with deer impacts to the rainforests of Baw Baw and Errinundra national parks is also critical.
“The Victorian National Parks Association is disappointed, however, that recreational deer hunters have apparently been given access to larger areas within the parks.
“There is no evidence that recreational hunting has been able to reduce deer populations, and increased access for amateur shooters brings possible conflicts with many other park users.
“National parks are great for tourism, and great for public health and well-being. They provide us with clean water and fresh air and, importantly, they protect tens of thousands of truly remarkable native plant and animal species.”
The new Greater Alpine National Parks Management Plan, released by Parks Victoria, outlines management directions for the next decade or so for Victoria’s Alpine, Baw Baw, Errinundra, Mount Buffalo, and Snowy River national parks, as well as several smaller parks and historic reserves in the region.