Newsletter #17 – Summer 1997/1998

A newsletter for people interested in the Australian Alps

Australian Alps Liaison Committee

Annual Field Workshop

Yet another Annual Field Workshop has come and gone with great success and lots of networking between rangers and others involved in management of the Australian Alps.

This year’s workshop concentrated on the theme of Community Education and Information, a topic that cuts across all areas of management of the natural and cultural resources of the Australian Alps national parks.

The key outcome of the workshop was to investigate the future direction of community education with respect to raising community awareness about the Australian Alps nation parks and about the co-operative arrangements between land managers that enable the Australian Alps to be managed as a biogeographic area.

During the workshop, over 75 people attended some or all sessions, and attendees were exposed to a wide range of techniques and approaches that help to convey information to various communities.

Sessions covered:

  • schools education
  • face-to-face ranger interpretation programs
  • Internet information and access
  • signs and information panels in parks
  • regional radio and its value for education
  • packaging information with local tourism communities
  • partnerships with potential sponsors
  • visitor centres and their operation
  • integrating organisational marketing with in-field interpretation

Peter King (formerly the convenor of the Australian Alps Community Relations Working Group) returned from Calperum Station in South Australia to guide participants towards identifying the future direction of Alps community education.

The Recreation & Tourism Working Group also used the gathering of ranger staff to introduce the new model for considering recreational impacts and managing these in the context of their environmental setting.

The workshop participants identified ‘neighbours’ and rural communities as key audiences to concentrate upon in terms of community education of management issues and overall values of the Australian Alps. This group will now be a focus for community education programs over the next few years.

Heads of Agencies for each of the for Alps Agencies also attended for part of the program and met together to consider the evaluation of the Australian Alps program over 1996/97 and to provide guidance for the future directions and work of the Liaison Committee.

Thanks to all the presenters who travelled from near and far to help make the 1997 Annual Field Workshop such a great success.

The 1998 Annual Field Workshop is scheduled for 4-6 November 1998 at Mt Buffalo National Park. Put the dates in your diary now.

Annual Report

The 1996/97 Annual report of the operations of the Australian Alps Liaison Committee is now available. Copies of the Annual Report have been distributed to work centres and major stakeholders with this newsletter. If you would like additional copies of the Annual report to give to local groups or Alps-related organisations, contact the Program Co-ordinator, Neville Byrne at Bright (03) 5755 1577.

Community Education Officer

The Australian Alps now has a dedicated Community Education Officer to help raise community awareness to the values of the Australian Alps.

Cath Renwick, (who previously worked for ACT Parks and Conservation Service) has been employed part-time to develop a number of approaches to raising community awareness and is assisting several Working Groups with education and interpretation projects.

As well as regular media releases and other promotional activities, Cath is currently working on Alps lookout displays for the Telstra Tower and/or Mt Ainslie in Canberra, trailhead displays for the Australian Alps Walking Track at Walhalla and Namadgi, community service announcements for regional television, and reprinting the popular Australian Alps Huts Code.

Program Co-ordinator position 1998/99-2001/02

Neville Byrne, Program Co-ordinator for the Australian Alps since late July 1995 is due to pass the very important Alps co-ordination job over to a suitable successor from within the ACT Parks & Conservation Service (ACT P&CS) by the end of July 1998.

The search for a replacement for Neville has already begun with the Australian Alps Liaison Committee reviewing the position description, and ACT P&CS preparing to advertise and identify a suitable work location.

The Program Co-ordination job traditionally rotates between the land management Agencies involved in the Australian Alps national parks. It is intended that a suitable person will be identified early in 1998. That person will then be able to progressively become familiar with the co-ordination tasks, and be ready to take over the reins when Neville moves on.

Neville (as a seconded Parks Victoria employee) will move back into that organisation and discussions have already begun between senior managers and Neville about his future work role.

Any member of the ACT Parks & Conservation Service interested in the position of Program Co-ordinator for the Australian Alps should contact either Peter Hann at Namadgi National Park, or Stephen Hughes the new Manager of ACT P&CS.

Around the Agencies

ACT

Stephen Hughes has recently been appointed as the new Manager, within the ACT Parks & Conservation Service. Stephen takes over the position previously held by Diane Garrood and temporarily by Bill Woodruff. Stephen will be the new ACT representative on the Australian Alps Liaison Committee.

Environment Australia

Over the past few months, the Australian Alps Liaison Committee has been fortunate to have had the services of Deborah Bourke as Secretary. While also working on the management Plan for Boudaree National Park (formerly Jervis Bay), Deborah has been quickly coming up to speed with the intricacies of the Australian Alps program, particularly with respect to meetings of the Liaison Committee.

Deborah also was recently involved in preparations for the meeting of Ministers and Heads of Agencies at the Annual Field Workshop.

NSW

Tumut District of NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service now has a new District Manager following the appointment of Steve Horsley. Steve comes from the nearby State Forests Department in Tumut and hence is well aware of the parks and neighbour issues around the Tumut area. As an early duty in his new job, Steve attended the Annual Field Workshop held in Jindabyne to make himself more aware of the Australian Alps program.

Victoria

Chief Ranger (Goulburn), Rocky Barca has taken a six months appointment away from Alexandra to work as the liaison officer between Parks Victoria and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation in the critical lead-up to the 1998 Grand Prix. The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix is held at Albert park (one of Parks Victoria parks in Melbourne) and Rocky’s job will be to ensure the event is able to be staged with minimal long-term impact on the park and minimal disruption to park users.

Natural Heritage Working Group

Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies (BTRW)

Following on from the searches for BTRWs in the Australian Alps, the Working Group has recently commissioned a report on the best and most effective methods of monitoring both remnant populations of Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies and also any re-introduced populations.

The best possible monitoring techniques are required to ensure information about the small populations of BTRW is accurate and reliably represents the status and changes occurring in the populations.

Tiger Quolls & 1080

The Working Group is currently reviewing a draft report that documents trials to investigate the best method of baiting for dogs and foxes without having impacts on non-target species such as Spot-tailed Quolls (Tiger Quolls), which are prone to take meat baits.

The trials were sponsored by the Australian Alps Liaison Committee as an important step in ensuring best protection for Spot-tailed Quolls. Results of the trials have already been passed on to Agency ‘dogmen’, pest control officers and many local farmers to ensure that 1080 baits are buried at sufficient depths to discourage Spot-tailed Quolls digging them up but still at depths that will be attractive to dogs and foxes.

The resulting ‘best practice’ technique will enable continued control of dogs and foxes as well as protecting non-target species such as Spot-tailed Quolls.

Global Threats – Snow in Australia Conference

Arrangements are well in place for this conference to be held in Jindabyne (17-20 February 1998.

Dr. Ken Green (NSW NPWS) has been active in organising this conference and has received all the papers that will be presented by eminent researchers and experts with knowledge of snow environments in Australia and the likely effects of reduced snow cover on native species. The detailed contained in the papers is more than can be presented at the Conference, and so the collection of papers will provide a valuable reference to the scientific information and background to changes that are likely to be observed as snow cover recedes under conditions of Global Warming.

Australian Alps field staff will be supported to attend the Conference and attendance will be co-ordinated through individual Agencies. Other wishing to attend the conference should contact Dr Ken Green (02) 6450 5555.

Weeds Management Manual

Following an initial rush to get hold of the Australian Alps Weeds Management Manual (1996), stocks were soon depleted and there were many disappointed people who failed to get hold of a copy.

The Weeds Management Manual contains colour plates of about thirty common alpine weed species and control techniques (mainly chemical) to manage their spread.

The good news is that copies of the Weeds Management Manual are once again available, however the bad news is that with a reduced second print run, the cost for each copy of the Manual has risen to $75 including postage. If you wish to purchase a copy of the manual, contact the Program Co-ordinator (03) 5755 1577.

Alps Invaders

The release of the new publication Alps Invaders – Weeds of the Australian High Country is scheduled for pre-Christmas.

Alps Invaders is an identification guide to weed species that already occur in the Australian alpine and sub-alpine environment, as well as weeds that have a high potential to invade these areas.

The purpose of the guide is to help visitors, land-owners, lodge managers and field staff to easily identify weeds when in the alpine/sub alpine environment. A reporting form enables sightings of new species or species in unusual areas to be reported to park offices so that early control can be initiated.

Cultural Heritage Working Group

Oral History Tapes

Several years ago, the Australian Alps Liaison Committee commissioned oral histories of aboriginal communities around the Australian Alps as well as European oral histories of experiences in the Australian Alps. Oral histories were recorded on 39 tapes by researchers Sue Wesson, Matthew Higgins and Lesley Alves.

To make the information more available to researchers and the general community, the Australian Alps recently had the tapes transferred to archive-quality tapes for long term storage and protection in the National Library (Canberra), and also arranged duplicate copies of the tapes for Australian Alps Agencies.

Anyone wishing to access the tapes for research or interpretation should contact one of the following:

New South Wales
Snowy Region Reference Collection,
c/- Cate Gillies,
Snowy Region Visitor Centre
(02) 6450 5555

Victoria
Parks Victoria,
c/- Daniel Catrice,
Historic Places Branch
(03) 9412 4532

Australian Capital Territory
Namadgi National Park,
c/- Joss Haiblen
(02) 6207 2900

Commonwealth
National Library of Australia,
c/- Mark Cranfield,
Oral Histories
(02) 6262 1636

The Program Co-ordinator also has a copy of the tapes for reference purposes.

Aboriginal Heritage projects

On behalf of the Australian Alps Liaison Committee (AALC), the Cultural Heritage Working Group canceled the consultancies dealing with Aboriginal Perspectives of Interpretation and Aboriginal History.

The Aboriginal Perspectives contract was canceled following consideration of the draft report of the consultant. The Working Group felt that the draft report did not adequately meet the brief of the contract and that it was unlikely that the contractor would provide a satisfactory report which gave the AALC ‘key messages of the Aboriginal community regarding interpretation of their cultural history in the Australian Alps’.

The contract for production of the Aboriginal History of the Alps was contingent on the satisfactory completion of the perspectives project. The Aboriginal History of the Australian Alps will now await completion of a more detailed consultation with Aboriginal communities.

The consultant will be paid for all verified work undertaken on these projects.

Human Pathways through the Alps

The Working Group has considered a draft of the Human Pathways through the Alps report and has asked the consultant to provide information based on further references and clarification of various comments in the report.

Strategy meeting

The Working Group conducted a Strategic Planning meeting in Berridale in mid-September. That strategic meeting was attended by Evelyn Maher of the NSW Aboriginal Heritage Division and identified the directions the Working Group would need to pursue in order to meet the requirements of the Australian Alps Strategic Plan with respect to cultural heritage conservation. The outcomes from the planning meeting were feed directly into the project proposals for 1998/99.

Colin Killick, Senior Ranger, Queanbeyan is scheduled to join the Working Group on his return from leave.

Community Relations Working Group

Field Guide

Work on the Australian Alps Field Guide has been suspended pending a closer examination of the exact needs and brief for the field guide to the Australian Alps. The field guide has grown considerably in concept over the past year and the Working Group wishes to re-assess and clarify exactly want product would best suit the needs of visitors to the Australian Alps.

Community Service Announcements

Filming is complete for the 60 second and 30 second community service announcements for television. In all two hours of video footage has been shot and now the producers, together with members of the working group will be reducing this 120 minutes to just one minute suitable for television.

Recreation & Tourism Working Group

Recreation Settings Management

The draft model for assessing and managing recreation impacts in various settings has been completed and was introduced to participants at the Annual Field Workshop in late October.

The model looks at the recreation setting and environmental management factors inherent in a state and provides a suite of acceptable methods of dealing with recreation impacts (environmental or social) within that setting so that the characteristics of the setting are not inadvertently changed by the management response.

Further training of staff in use of the model will occur over coming months with the first training scheduled for 24-26 November at Currango Homestead in northern Kosciuszko National Park.

Bushwalking Code

A further 100,000 copies of the popular Bushwalking Code were recently produced. This code is the most popular code in the series of minimal impact recreation codes produced by the Australian Alps Liaison Committee.

No sooner were the Codes printed than over 6,000 were shipped off to Tasmania. Tasmania Parks and Heritage were responsible for the production of the original bushwalking code which has since received widespread acceptance throughout Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, as well as with key bushwalking associations in these States.

Any park office (either around the Australian Alps or elsewhere) wishing to obtain copies of the Bushwalking Code should contact the Program Co-ordinator (03) 5755 1176.

Huts Code

The Australian Alps Huts Code has also recently become out-of-print and so additional copies are being printed for distribution throughout park offices and for use by volunteer groups such as the Kosciuskzo Huts Association and other groups involved in maintenance and stewardship of huts in the Australian Alps.

Copies of this Code will be available at the end of November 1997 and again contact the Program Co-ordinator if you wish to receive copies.

The Huts Code is also produced in a waterproof booklet form for insertion in the front of hut log books. Ranger staff are responsible for ensuring copies of the booklet are inserted in hut log books in their areas.

Touring guide

The Australian Alps 2WD & 4WD touring guide continues to be developed with a partnership being developed between the contractor (Beaten Track Press) and a larger publishing house for production of the final maps and distribution of the touring guide once produced.

Completion of the touring guide is not expected however until early in the 1998/99 year.

AAWT strategy group

Walking club representative and ranger staff from along the Australian Alps Walking Track met in Jindabyne at the end of the Annual Field Workshop to finalise their strategy for long-term maintenance and upkeep of the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT.

The group has identified and recommended high priority works along the AAWT between Benambra and Limestone Creek in Victoria, and that an alternative route be considered for the potentially dangerous road section of the AAWT between Charlotte’s Pass and Guthega Power Station. Work on the Benambra section will be complete before summer and consideration is being given to the best alternative route for the AAWT to avoid the above road section.

John Siseman’s 1997 guidebook to the Australian Alps Walking Track is now available for $24.95 at most bushwalking shops.

John Siseman has indicated that the guidebook now aligns the track notes with the route actually marked ‘in the field’, as well as suggesting a number of more interesting and potentially safer routes away from vehicle roads. John Siseman has indicated that copies of the guidebook will soon be sent to ranger work centres along route of the Australian Alps Walking Track.

Projects proposed for 1998/99

Following a two-day meeting with Working Group Convenors in Melbourne in mid-November, the Australian Alps Liaison Committee has indicated its support in principle to the following projects to begin in the 1998/99 financial year. All projects must be further refined and more accurate budgets and implementation plans completed before the final approval for these projects is considered at the next AALC meeting in March 1998.

Project Title Project Description
Networking Communities – an Australian Alps workshop Facilitate and convene a workshop involving catchment management co-ordinators, interested & key stakeholders And other government and non-government agencies to communicate, network and identify joint ventures in participation and awareness.
Community Education Employ a part-time community education officer to promote community awareness programs
Australian Alps video (information package) Concept development & production of 15 min. video for visitor centres and coach groups with postcards, posters and map touring guide.
Web site (yearly maintenance) Annual updating of website to enhance and evaluate program.
Community Awareness survey Establish baseline values of the awareness of targeted community audiences
Schools Education program Convene a teacher training workshop at the Kosciuszko Education Centre and develop a broad education program based on the Aust. Alps co-operative management to be incorporated into KNP education Centre syllabus.
Aboriginal community consultation project Following initial consultation with aboriginal communities in 1997/98, undertake more comprehensive consultation between Aboriginal communities and agency staff based on strategy proposed by communities.
Cultural heritage site protection & conservation Produce an assessment package of site protection and conservation requirements throughout the Alps based on currently available data.
Minimal Impact program Evaluate the effectiveness of the minimal impact series, consolidate the series to effectively distribute and provide reprints of low stocks.
Recreation Strategy To implement the recreation strategy Alps-wide based on the Snowy River pilot from 1997/98
Best practice workshops Provide strategies to manage recreational impacts through best practice workshops on walking tracks, waste management, closed gate surveillance.
Tourism support External training & accreditation; regional tourism links and displays; indigenous tourism opportunities (incl. Aboriginal tourism company). Includes $10,000 for Stage 3 of Lookout displays program (NSW in 98/99)
Recreation management – AAWT/backcountry Provide assistance to the continuance of the AAWT Strategy committee (esp. for stakeholders) & carry out recommendations listed in the Back Country Recreation strategy. [Note: no funds sought for on-ground works on AAWT in 1998/99.]
Visitor monitoring: attitudes & numbers Identify visitor needs, expectations, awareness; refine visitor statistics & collection; develop user group database
Strategic management of native flora and fauna conservation Develop a strategic management plan for Alps native species and communities and a schedule of priority species/communities for future funding programs.
Strategic management of priority pest species Develop a ‘generic’ strategic management plan for Alps pest species and a schedule of priority pest species to guide future funding for pest species management.
Strategic management plan for feral goats To compile information, techniques and a strategic approach for control of feral goats in the Australian Alps
Implementing biological control of Broom in the AANP Train staff in implementation of biological control, release agents at nursery sites, monitor establishment & spread at release sites, measure impact of biocontrol
Annual Field Workshop Organise and conduct Annual Field Workshop
Staff training support Support Australian Alps staff to attend appropriate training programs
Program Co-ordinator Employment of Program Co-ordinator and provide support
Annual Report Prepare, publish and distribute Annual Report
Australian Alps Newsletter Prepare and publish quarterly newsletter for Australian Alps stakeholders
Private sector sponsorship Identify constraints & opportunities for corporate sponsorship of natural & cultural heritage, promotions and visitor services in the Australian Alps.

The above projects were selected (from over 40 projects totalling almost $1 million) based upon their relevance to the Strategic Plan for the Australian Alps national parks program.

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