Newsletter #22 – Summer 1999/2000

A newsletter for people interested in the Australian Alps

Australian Alps Liaison Committee

Season’s greetings…

What happened to 1999, where did it go!

Another fire season upon us and another year older… Thankfully it would appear that this fire season may be somewhat ‘green’, although things could be interesting in the New Year !

On behalf of the Australian Alps Liaison Committee, I would like to sincerely wish you all a happy and safe break over the festive season. We look forward to your continual support next year. During 1999 the response of staff across the Alps has been to give their time in addition to their normal duties, to become involved with and ensure the success of the Alps program.

Without this level of staff commitment and the energy and enthusiasm of the working groups, the overall program would not have received international recognition as a model of excellence in achieving cross-border cooperation.

Thankyou and Merry Christmas to you and yours…

BMcN

PS I hope the millennium bug treats you kindly!

Distribution and marketing

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee has recently entered into an exciting partnership arrangement with CanPrint Communications and AusInfo to undertake distribution and marketing of all Alps related products and publications.

CanPrint Information Services operates for the Commonwealth, the Government’s Public Information Access Network (AusInfo). This Australia wide network incorporates national call centre consumer information services, publication warehousing and distribution, 9 retail outlets in all states and territories and on line facilities. Underpinning this operation is a state of the art databases management system and a wide area network supporting substantial inventory management, subscriber services and electronic information distribution and access operations.

The AALC is very keen to enhance and supplement arrangements with AusInfo for the marketing and dissemination of Alps information and products through this comprehensive network.

To order any Australian Alps national parks publication and/or product simply ring AusInfo on 132 447.

1998/99 Annual Report

Recently, the Australian Alps Liaison Committee Annual Report for 1998/99 was tabled and accepted by the Heads of Agencies.

The annual report provides a review of the Australian Alps cooperative management program for the previous financial year. The report outlines the organisational make-up of the Liaison Committee and Working Groups and contains the financial report on projects undertaken. The report also continues to serve as an important information source on the cooperative management program for members of the public, tertiary institutions and libraries.

Reporting on the activities and successes of the cooperative management program is an essential task of the Liaison Committee to raise awareness and to communicate the tangible benefits of the Memorandum of Understanding.

Additional copies are available from the Program Coordinator.

Now available …

60 years of photographing the Australian Alps

Picture this…

A dramatic view of Mt Hotham summit after the 1939 fires with rough stockyards formed from snowgum skeletons. A 1928 Chrysler converted to a campervan parked at Dainers Gap in a snowstorm with handmade ash skis leaning against it. An evocative shot of Rowley’s Orroral Hut before its destruction by fire.

These were but a small part of a very special photographic exhibition that graced the Namadgi Visitor Centre during September and October 1999. Reg Alder – bushwalker, environmentalist, and photographer – presented a stunning selection of his life’s work in black and white. Reg has covered the Australian Alps national parks on foot, skis, and bicycle over the last 60 years and has been a passionate defender of wild places through his activities in the National Parks Association (ACT).

Reg’s photos are not snapshots from roadside lookouts. Pictures such as his misty camp at the top of T-junction Spur on Mt Bogong speak of an intimate knowledge of and love for the mountains. It is hoped the exhibition will travel to Jindabyne in the near future.

There are other exhibitions and events coming soon to Namadgi National Park.

Reg’s exhibition was the first of a 10-month calendar of special events at Namadgi Visitor Centre. Many will have an Australian Alps focus, not the least being:

‘Can Feral Pigs Recognise State Borders?’ on 27 February 2000, featuring the unstoppable Brett McNamara.

‘The Glorious Victorian Alps’ on 2 April 2000, presented by Peter Jacobs.

For more information on the calender of events, contact Joss Haiblen on Phone 02 62072900

Alps Field Workshop: volunteer management

Recently 50 staff from across the Australian Alps national parks gathered at sunny Walwa, Upper Murray, Victoria for the annual Alps Field Workshop.

The theme this year was working in partnership with volunteers. The workshop provided an ideal opportunity for networking across the agencies, to discover more about key Alps projects underway and to increase skills, knowledge and understanding which was seen as being fundamental in allowing for park staff to work effectively with a broad range of volunteer groups. Throughout the workshop the emphasis was on participation and active learning.

The workshop provided an opportunity to explore the principles of effective volunteer management with Mary Porter and Lorraine Higgins from Volunteering ACT, an umbrella organisation representing volunteer interest groups, taking workshop participants through a range of topics. A highlight of the workshop included volunteer management case studies, ‘constraints and opportunities’ which was presented by an Agency representative.

Stories among the snowgums and Alps Touring Map…

The long awaited Australian Alps touring map and video package has at last been completed, ready to hit the shelves for the Christmas rush.

The new map produced by Charles-Walsh Nature Tourism Services is basically an update of the old Alps map. The latest version is a stunning piece of design-work which involved cutting edge digital technology. It has been produced with the involvement of all park agencies and many stakeholders, mostly from within the tourism industry. Ten thousand copies have been produced and will shortly be distributed to outlets across the Australian Alps region.

The video Stories among the snowgums: a journey through the Australian Alps is also a spectacular piece of work which focuses on the personal stories and memories of a diverse group of individuals, all of whom have strong connections and feelings for the Australian Alps.

Produced by two Canberra based companies, Fine Films and Images Online, it took seven days to film but the crew and their NPWS project manager, Stuart Cohen, had to drive almost 3,000 km of mountain roads in that time in order to get the job done. Stories among the snowgums will be distributed to regional television stations and international cable TV networks and will be made available to visitor centres, coach operators and anyone else willing to give it a run. It will also be sold as a retail item.

WILDGUIDE plants and animals of the Australian Alps

At last there’s an easy to use field guide for all visitors to the Australian Alps. It is WILDGUIDE plants and animals of the Australian Alps, published by Envirobook and available from shops and Information Centres early in the new year for $14.95.

WILDGUIDE, a project of the Community Relations Working Group, entices all visitors to appreciate and enjoy the natural beauty of the Australian Alps. Barbara Cameron-Smith of Cameo Interpretive Projects has skilfully written the book to suit a broad audience, particularly those not familiar with the alps environments or with identifying plants and animals. As well, Barbara has selected excellent photos for easy identification of species and has also used her artistic talents to illustrate feral and introduced plants and animals. The focus on common species and its engaging writing style give WILDGUIDE a distinctive identity among field guides.

WILDGUIDE is ideal for anyone wishing to identify, or find out more about commonly seen plants, animals and habitats of the Australian Alps national parks. It 8explores how plants and animals of Australia’s highest mountains cope with the climatic extremes of drenching thunderstorms, fierce frosts, gale force winds, raging blizzards, spring floods and summer droughts. It also highlights the diversity, ingenuity and fragility of life in the Australian Alps.

The year in review…

The year 1998/99 was one of further achievement for the Australian Alps Liaison Committee in attaining excellence in

protected area management. This was achieved through a continuing strong program of cross-border liaison and staff cooperation at all levels.

As in previous years, agencies and staff involved in the cooperative management program can be justifiably proud of the projects that have been conducted to enhance consistency in the management of the unique alpine and sub-alpine environments of mainland Australia.

A major achievement was the addition of Mount Buffalo National Park (Vic) to the schedule of parks and reserves covered by the Memorandum of Understanding for the management of the Australian Alps national parks.

The inclusion of alpine, subalpine and mountain reserves not adjoining the existing Australian Alps parks hd been a discussion point with the Australian Alps Liaison Committee for sometime. In keeping with international best practise, amending the Memorandum of Understanding to allow for the inclusion of parks and reserves on the biogeographical basis was proposed to Ministers and endorsed. This amendment of the MOU and subsequent addition of Mt Buffalo represents a significant development in terms of the cooperative management of the Australian Alps national parks on a regional basis.

During the year a number of major reports and investigations were completed which provide guidance for agencies in their management of the Australian Alps environment and its sustainable use. Education, staff training, natural and cultural resources have all been targeted in the past year and valuable outcomes achieved.

Jane Lennon and Associates prepared an assessment of the cultural heritage values of the Australian Alps national parks against international criteria. The report identified that the Australian Alps national parks are of great importance in illustrating Aboriginal adaptation to climate change in the late Pleistocene era compared to more recent occupancy of the European Alps.

As part of the Centenary Dedication Day activities at Mount Buffalo National Park, Mr Brendan Smyth, Minister for the Environment (ACT), and the Hon. Marie Tehan, Minister for Conservation and Land Management (Vic), officially launched the Australian Alps Liaison Committee’s latest publication Explore the Australian Alps – the official touring guide to the Australian Alps national parks.

Explore has proven to be an essential reference for anyone wanting to visit one of Australia’s most beautiful and fascinating regions. With over 150 full colour photographs, Explore has been widely acclaimed as an invaluable touring guide and a lasting memento of journeys through the Australian Alps national parks.

The cooperative management strategies and implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding have been recognised internationally as world’s best practice in cross-border management of protected areas. It is noted that during the year a similar memorandum of understanding has been established for the cooperative management of the mallee and dry land areas of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The role and activities of the AALC in introducing innovation, providing a forum for staff networking and coordination continues to be highly valued by staff managing the Australian Alps national parks. The Committee’s works program provides an opportunity for the professional development of staff that may not be otherwise available. The response of staff has been to give their time in addition to their normal duties and become involved with the Australian Alps program.

I would like to record my sincere thanks to the members of the various working groups and to the Australian Alps Liaison Committee for their collective efforts which have ensured the ongoing success and relevance of the Australian Alps national parks cooperative management program.

Lee Thomas

Environment Australia, Convenor, Australian Alps Liaison Committee

Working Group Progress Reports

Community Benchmark Awareness Survey

Recently the Community Relations Working Group engaged the services of Worthington Di Marzio, a market research firm from Melbourne, to identify community needs, levels of satisfaction and establish benchmarks for community awareness of the Australian Alps national parks cooperative management program.

These findings will be used in the development of future community awareness and visitor management programs. Worthington Di Marzio have undertaken qualitative and quantitative research with two key audiences being Australian Alps rural residents and park visitors. The overall survey has provided useful data and information on the general awareness levels and satisfaction with the Australian Alps national parks.

Encouragingly, 67% of rural residents and 61% of Park Visitors surveyed were aware that their nearest national park or park recently visited, was part of the Australian Alps national parks cooperative management program. Overall, both groups were generally satisfied with the level of visitor facilities and amenities on offer within the Australian Alps national parks.

Biodiversity Strategic Priority Framework

The development of a strategic priority framework for native flora and fauna and for priority pest species represents a consolidation of projects designed to provide a strategic overview to guide protected area management practices across the Australian Alps national parks.

The refined project will investigate the current knowledge and develop a criteria by which priority ranking’s can be established for species and communities occurring in the Australian Alps. As a result, the project aims to clearly identify those species or communities for which there is a priority need for further research, investigation or management coordination.

A key to the success of this project are a number of planned workshops to be held to discuss the issues and identify which species and communities are seen as being priority. The involvement and consultation with both technical and ‘on ground’ land managers is crucial to the overall success of this project in terms of assigning priority status to biodiversity features for future research within the Australian Alps national parks.

English Broom (Cytisus scoparius) management strategy

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee commissioned a review of the occurrence of broom within the Australian Alps and the development of an integrated broom management strategy for use by field staff. The Broom Management Strategy for the Australian Alps national parks has been prepared by researchers from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in collaboration with Rangers and Park planners.

The Broom Management Strategy for the Australian Alps national parks meets the goals of the National Weeds Strategy and the National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia’s Biological Diversity. The strategy seeks to minimise the impact of introduced plants such as broom on the environmental values and biodiversity of the alpine region. Invasion by environmental weeds such as English Broom poses a present and potential threat to vegetation communities across the Australian Alps national parks.

Recently colonies of the Broom Twig–Mining Moth, Broom Psyllid, and the Broom Seed-Feeding Beetle, were imported from New Zealand into the quarantine facilities at Keith Turnbull Research Institute (KTRI). These biological control agents are currently being reared through a mandatary one-generation gene cycle in quarantine to ensure they are free of parasites or disease.

These agents will be available for release throughout the Australian Alps national parks at appropriate broom infestations in spring 1999. Research staff from KTRI will conduct training sessions for Australian Alps national parks staff in the release of the agents and subsequent monitoring and management of biocontrol sites.

Spotted-tailed Quolls DO eat aerial baits!

The first hard evidence that aerial baiting programs for dogs could have a detrimental impact on Spotted-tailed Quoll populations has been collected during a project funded by the AALC.

In July this year 1,200 meat baits injected with a non-toxic dye known as Rhodamine B were dropped by helicopter over Tallaganda State Forest, an area which is known to support a population of Spotted-tailed Quolls, and a site which is baited by Braidwood Rural Lands Protection Board annually.

When consumed, Rhodamine B is laid down as a band in the structure of the hair of an animal. As the hair grows, this band moves along the length of the hair. When viewed under a microscope illuminated with ultraviolet light, this band is clearly seen as a band of fluorescence; it literally glows!

The aim of this work was to determine what percentage of a population of Spotted-tailed Quolls would be able to locate and consume baits during a baiting program. This program which was “real” in every way, apart from the fact that a harmless pink dye was used instead of the poison 1080. The baiting methodology used was undertaken after discussions with Braidwood, Cooma and Bombala Rural Lands Protection Boards.

Three weeks following the baiting program, Andrew Murray and his team of quoll trappers spent twelve nights trapping quolls.

In total, 16 quolls were caught on a total of 41 times (lots of recaptures!). When first captured, each quoll was sedated, micro–chipped (just like the family dog or cat!) and had eight whiskers removed for analysis. Whiskers are the hairs within which Rhodamine B is most clearly visible, and therefore are the preferable hairs to pluck!

When the independent analysis was carried out, ten quolls were identified as having eaten baits. This included four out of the seven female quolls captured (three of which had pouch young) and six of the nine male quolls captured.

What do these results mean? Firstly, they provide the first solid evidence that quolls will locate and consume the types of meat baits used in aerial baiting programs. Secondly, the study identified that over 60% of quolls in the study site had consumed baits. This result would tend to indicate that this method of baiting could have a significant detrimental effect on populations of quolls, especially if the populations are small, isolated or living in marginal habitat. The implications of this work are that land managers will have to very carefully consider what baiting methods they are to employ if they want to ensure the survival of their Spotted–tailed Quolls.

A full report on the project will be available close to Christmas.

Cultural significance of the Australian Alps

A major report to examine the cultural values of the Australian Alps national parks against international criteria was completed during the year. The examination extends the earlier Australian Alps Liaison Committee work in convening a symposium (1991) that identified the range of cultural values in the Australian Alps.

The cultural values ranged from Aboriginal heritage through various phases of occupation and use such as exploration, grazing and mining to more recent land uses of tourism and hydro-electricity generation. The assessment against international criteria has documented the significance of the cultural values in international terms and provides a greater understanding of the need to protect the cultural values of the Australian Alps national parks.

The Lennon report, prepared by Jane Lennon and Associates, identified relevant international themes of human occupancy in alpine, subalpine and mountain environments and then compares the Australian evidence within the wider international context.

The Lennon report identified that the Australian Alps national parks are of great importance in illustrating Aboriginal adaptation to climate change in the late Pleistocene era, compared to more recent occupancy of the European Alps. With occupation dates from Birrigai at 21000 BP in a cold cycle and the Holocene warm period from 8500 to 6500 BP, Lennon has concluded that climate change may offer a link between natural and cultural values, and therefore can be expressed as a possible ‘outstanding universal value’ in the Australian Alps.

Evaluation of Minimal Impact Codes

An evaluation of the seven Australian Alps Minimal Impact Codes by consultant Dr Elizabeth Beckmann has shown that they are

effective at communicating messages of minimal impact behaviour to Alps users, but that distribution methods need improving.

The study involved extensive consultation across the Australian Alps region with a range of stakeholders, including about 60 recreation user groups and ecotourism operators, more than 100 park visitors and about 30 Alps national parks and information centre staff. While most target audiences showed good awareness of the basic Minimal Impact messages, the more specific messages still need stressing through effective education. While park users would prefer minimal impact information to come directly from Australian Alps national park staff, especially rangers, there was strong support for the Code leaflets.

Dr Beckmann identified strengths and weaknesses in the Codes, and made recommendations for effective distribution, which have now been addressed through the AusInfo network and for redevelopment when present stocks are exhausted.

Feature article: CRC for Sustainable Mountain Tourism update…

As outlined in the News from the Alps, Autumn 99, a new research initiative has been established involving national parks, universities and industry to enhance the sustainability of mountain tourism in Australia.

This is under the auspices of the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism. The first rounds of grants have just been approved with some minor modifications. While all of the projects are of interest to national parks, those examining the environmental sustainability of mountain tourism and visitor monitoring are likely to be particularly relevant. Here the major project addressing the first of these areas is outlined:

Sustainability of Mountain Tourism Grant recipient Dr Catherine Pickering. Researchers and expert advisers involved: Dr Clyde Wild, Pascal Scherrer, Caroline Kelly, Frances Johnston, Griffith University, Stuart Johnston Roger Good, and members of the heritage group NSW NPWS. Australian Alps Liaison Committee representative: Brett McNamara.

The goal of this grant is to identify and address the critical management issues for ecologically sustainable tourism in the Australian Alps, a priority bioregion.

The overall project has five key phases:

  1. Establishing context
    Identify key ecological and physical process for the sustainability of mountain ecosystems under current conditions, and climate change.
  2. Identify risk
    Identify scope of management issues for mountain tourism activities as perceived at a global and local level by stakeholders and researchers.
  3. Evaluating risk
    Evaluate risks associated with mountain tourism activities in relation to their significance for environmental process in the Australian Alps.
  4. Limiting risk
    Formulate effective management methods based on overseas and Australian best practice in consultation with stakeholders.
  5. Monitoring risk
    Establish a monitoring program for critical processes in parks and resorts in conjunction with stakeholders.

Ecologically sustainable tourism should be based on prevention rather than cure. Prevention involves identifying what is at risk, how significant the risk is, how to manage the risk, and methods for monitoring the management of risk. Somerisks are relatively general and well known, while others are specific to a region and type of tourism and are relatively unknown.

Ecologically sustainable tourism involves evaluating general and specific management issues to identify those that pose a risk to the region/tourism activity, and the significance of the risk. Once the essential issues have been identified, effective management programs will be developed.

Finally monitoring programs can be established so management practices will be evaluated before significant environmental damage occurs. Without ecological sustainability, tourism in the Australian Alps may be severely limited with national parks having a legislative obligation to maintain the natural values of the region.

For more information on the CRC program contact:

Dr Catherine Pickering
CRC Mountain Tourism
Gold Coast Campus
Griffith University

Phone (07) 5594 8259

Around the agencies: correspondents report

Victoria

An Update From South of the Border… Chris Rose, Chief Ranger, Alpine District

Staff news

The last few months has been relatively stable with few staff movements (which is a very good thing I might add).

Parks Victoria recently advertised statewide for staff as part of a broad recruitment program. The program aims to attract the very best of staff into new positions, with both structured and on the job training provided over a two year period that will involve working in at least two Parks during that time. I am pleased to announce that Catherine Kent has won a position as part of this program and will based at Mt Buffalo for the first 12 months. Catherine is one of 18 recruits taken on from close to 1000 applicants. I hope to have Catherine involved in some way in the Alps program during the course of the next 12 months.

Peter Jacobs and Gill Anderson have returned from the overseas adventure and are as keen as ever. Dave Foster is off to Canada for Christmas and I am sure his ski’s will be going with him, and taking some well earned leave, Kris and Andrea Rowe head overseas for 3 months in January.

Work news

This year we are all excited about getting some funds to work on some of our key tracks to ensure sustainable use into the future. The funds, $250,000 this year and another $200,000 over the next 2 years, have been sourced through the governments BERC program. Peter Jenkins will be managing the majority of the program this financial year and it includes much needed track restoration on and near the spectacular summit of Mt Feathertop. To aid in the skill development of local track crews, we are bringing to Australia a Scottish stone and rock path construction expert who will work as part of the crew ensuring a quality and long lived result.

Other key programs currently underway for this year include a continuation of flood restoration works, alpine grazing rehabilitation works inside the Caledonia fire affected area, our normal large pest plant and animal program and the development of an environmental management plan for the Wonangatta Valley.

Seasonal Road closures have opened as planned this year due to favourable weather conditions, and we look forward to a mild but pleasant summer both for our works program and our hundreds of thousands of park visitors.

New South Wales

The word from the Lyrebird… Janet Mackay, Manager Operations, Snowy Mountains Region

News from NPWS at the moment all seems to revolve around the word ‘restructure’!

As from January 1, a new Southern Directorate will include South Coast, Far South Coast, Snowy Mountains and South West Slopes regions as well as the Conservation, Programs and Planning and Resorts Divisions.

Kosciuszko National Park, and of course, the NSW Australian Alps, will be managed within both the new Snowy Mountains Region and the South West Slope region. The Conservation Programs and Planning Division, the former ‘zone’ as people know it, will be expanded to include the Reserve Conservation Unit (formerly Snowy Heritage Unit) as well as the Community Programs Unit. So, big changes are a foot which will ensure delivery of NPWS core business both on and off park in an integrated manner.

By the time you read this, there will have been announcements about the people who have been successful in gaining the senior management positions. In the next edition of this newsletter, we will advise of all the new positions.

Revised planning procedures for development in Kosciuszko National Park have been released and will establish a strategic framework to ensure that any future development is based on ecologically sustainable development and best practice planning principles.

The revised procedures are contained in the draft Kosciuszko National Park Environmental Planning and Assessment manual.

Preparation of this manual will help the NPWS to achieve its objective of ensuring that the management of the unique resource which the park represents is in accordance with sound planning principles. The new assessment and application procedures are transparent, equitable and consistent with best practice local government procedures.

The manual is intended for use by NPWS officers, resort lessees and park users, but is also relevant and available to the broader community. Volume 2 will also contain ski resort development plans to be prepared by the NPWS for all ski resorts in consultation with major stakeholders. These plans will provide more detailed planning provisions usually contained in the applicable local environmental plans and development control plans of local councils.

The draft KNP Environmental Planning and Assessment manual will be on public exhibition at NPWS offices in Jindabyne, Perisher Valley, Queanbeyan and Hurstville for a period of six weeks from November 8 until December 17. A brochure summarising the manual is also available at the above locations. All comments should be forwarded to the manager, Resorts Division, Jindabyne.

ACT

The Gang-Gang gossip… Margot Sharp, Senior Ranger, Namadgi National Park

Quite a few people have either been on leave, returning from leave and acting in positions at Namadgi over the past few months.

Virginia Logan has been on a well earned 7 weeks leave and we have had a return to the “old days” with Peter Hann holding the Managers position again for that period.

Margot Sharp returned to full time work in November, just in time to do the fire roster!!

Rangers returning from overseas trips always have nice stories to tell, and Angie Jenkins and Geoff Young have stories about drinking the black beer in Ireland, which we think had a very strange effect on them both…. congratulations to Angie and Geoff on their recent engagement!!

Lori Gould was borrowed from Murrumbidgee River Corridor to act in Angie’s Bendora boots for August and September and she did a great job holding the fort in the wilds of the Brindabella’s for that short period. We will be sorry to see Dave Whitfield head off as he also did a wonderful job acting in Geoff’s position at Corin while he was tripping around overseas. Dave will be going into Canberra Nature Park in November.

Despite all of these comings and goings and some fairly significant budget cuts to ACT Parks in general, work goes on in Namadgi with the rabbit control program in full swing and most staff now involved with the annual weed spraying program.

September saw the official opening of a calendar of special events at Namadgi Visitor Centre with ’60 Years of Photographing the Australian Alps’, an exhibition by Reg Alder, being the first exhibition of many scheduled over the next 10 months.

The Boboyan Pines rehabilitation project is also progressing well with Steve Welch managing project works. Steve has been busy arranging seed collection, seedling propagation, planning exclosures, planning for felling of pines and burning of slash and working with the ‘Gudgenby Bushies’ volunteers.

Following the example set by the other states, there will soon be a review of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service. The objective of this review will identify the best way for P&CS to ‘survive and thrive’ under the purchaser/provider model. All staff are looking forward to contributing to the process.

Commonwealth

What’s the buzz with Parks Australia… Paul Stevenson, Parks Australia South, AALC Secretary

The Commonwealth service, Parks Australia, has a new Director. Peter Cochrane takes over from Colin Griffiths as Director of National Parks and Wildlife, overseeing the management of the Commonwealth’s 16 national parks.

Peter was until recently the Deputy Executive Director of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association. In that capacity, he has helped promote and improve the environmental performance of Australian industry. Peter is also on the National Oceans Advisory Group and the CSIRO Marine Sector Advisory Committee.

Peter has extensive experience and expertise in natural resource management, including the delivery of land and water management programs, the protection of threatened species and the development of greenhouse policy. Peter has also had a professional association with Australian Alps themes, as cited in the following papers.

Slatyer, R.O, Cochrane, P.M. and Galloway, R.W., (1985), Duration and Extent of Snow Cover in the Snowy Mountains, and a comparison with Switzerland, Search, Vol 15, No. 11-12, December 1984/January 1985.

Ferrar, Pamela J., Cochrane, P.M. and Slatyer, R.O. (1988). Factors influencing germination and establishment of Eucalyptus pauciflora near the alpine tree line. Tree Physiol 4: 27-43.

Cochrane, P.M., and Slatyer, R.O. (1988). Water Relations of Eucalyptus pauciflora near alpine tree line in winter. Tree Physiol 4: 45-52.

The AALC looks forward to renewing Peter’s active association with the Alps.

Ecotourism Association of Australia: National Conference

Recently, I went up to the conference on Fraser Island to represent the ideas of the Australian Alps Recreation and Tourism Working Group in the continuing debate over tour operator training and accreditation. As many of you will know the Australian Alps has provided several opportunities for tour operators to ‘skill up’ with knowledge of our unique environments as well as learning new interpretive techniques.

Ecotourism Association of Australia (EAA) and Australian Tourism Operators Network has been developing and administrating their National Ecotourism Accreditation Program (NEAP) for over three years. NEAP is an accreditation system for tourism products, that is tours or accommodation. Some NEAP products that you may know of are NSW NPWS’s Montague Island Tour and Jenny Edwards’ Gippsland High Country Tours. Over the last 12 months EAA has been reassessing the program, they have also been looking at ways to make the program more useful to protected area managers. Hoping to ensure that the accreditation is a reliable and relevant measure of commitment to best practice environmental management among those accredited.

If anyone would like to know more about NEAP or talk over the Australian Alps’s commitment to training tour operators to understand and model minimal impact, interpretive techniques and a sound understanding of the processes and heritage of the Australian Alps please call me.

Cath Renwick
Community Projects Officer

Phone (02) 6250 9501

Australian Alps profile: Cath Renwick

The Australian Alps program is indeed fortunate to have engaged the services of one Cath Renwick as the Community Projects Officer; to help spread the word amongst media outlets and to provide assistance with project management tasks. One of Cath’s many roles is to provide a response to numerous questions on the Alps program…

Frequently asked questions…

So… that’s Catherine Wick?

No, Cath, C-A-T-H, Renwick.

I should have stayed with the name my mother gave me but I decided that Cathie was too babyish and then when I married a man whose surname was Christie I decided that Cathie Christie was far too alliterative – so I’m stuck with the problem of Catherine Wick!

Who exactly do you work for?

Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t work for the ACT Parks Service or the Commonwealth. In fact probably none of the agencies party to Australian Alps national parks agreement would give me a permanent job now they know me! I have, however, worked on contract for over 2 years to the Australian Alps Liaison Committee and they are just one of a number of clients of Out in the Open, a business offering heritage interpretation and planning as well as landscape planning and design services to a range of clients all over south-eastern Australia. My work for the Australian Alps include liaising with the media, managing the website (www.australianalps.environment.gov.au) and answering emails, running other projects for both Community Relations and Recreation and Tourism working groups and generally keeping the lines of communication open.

What did you do before the Alps?

The short answer is almost everything – but as many people will know I am a relative newcomer to protected area management after retraining by completing a degree in what I call natural and cultural heritage management at Canberra University only last year. I did work on contract with the ACT Parks and Conservation Service while at uni as both a ranger and heritage interpreter. Before that I worked alternately in the television and horticulture industries …when the egos got too much in television I would revert to horticulture and, when I couldn’t support the family on a horticulturists wage, I would find my self back producing television! During all this I had two precious girls, Laila (now 19) and Honor (now 11), I also cooked professionally, sewed soft furnishings, ran a market clothes stall, worked in the theatre (behind the scenes) and found people jobs in a placement agency … I even did a stint at the Australian Taxation Office when I was at a very low ebb!

Can I have your business card?

Sure, which one? Just ask me next time you see me and remember that if you have an interesting story to tell about the Australian Alps let me know and we might be able to tell it to the whole Australian Alps region.

Contact Cath Renwick

Phone (02) 6250 9501

Patch poaching

Have you ever thought of poaching a patch? If so, read on…

Collecting park agency patches can be a fascinating little past time for a variety of reasons. There are literally thousands of different patches worldwide and many of them are designed with a great deal of detail and pride.

It can also assist in foraging and encouraging partnerships with officers from other agencies and provides an avenue for exchanging advice on park management issues, which supports professional development values… All from swapping agency patches!

Recently Chris Mercier, a Ranger from Parks Victoria, started collecting patches from Ranger’s, Fish & Wildlife officers, conservation wardens from overseas and in Australia. Collectors in the USA and Europe take patch trading very seriously and have swap meets every month. While most collectors are happy just to swap there are some that have made it into a business and will charge up to $10.00 a patch.

There are now an Internet sites for Rangers including an Australian based one called ‘Rangers on the Web’ which provides an opportunity for Park Rangers worldwide to obtain information about any particular issue to do with park management, talk to other rangers and among other things swap patches.

The largest patch Chris has been able to collect so far is a Conservation Warden patch from Indiana. (pictured) They must have bigger arms over there!!

Chris is still after a NSW Parks & Wildlife patch so if anyone would like to swap one for a Parks Victoria patch, contact Chris.

Chris Mercier
Ranger, Parks Victoria
Phone (03) 5755 1176 or

Dates for your diary

Best Practice Human Waste Management Workshop

1-2 February
Development of 2000 /2001 Works Program
AALC & Working Group Convenors, Canberra
27 – 31 March 2000
Human Waste Management Workshop
Canberra & Jindabyne

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee will be hosting a Best Practice Human Waste Management Workshop in March 2000. The workshop aims to increase the level of awareness, expertise and interest in contemporary approaches to human waste management at visitor facilities, trailheads and in the backcountry of the Australian Alps national parks.

The workshop will explore best practice management in cold climate natural areas, drawing from Australian and international experience, and will have a strong practical and on-ground focus. It also aims to generate discussion regarding possible future policies in the Australian Alps national parks in relation to the use of particular technologies (such as composting toilets) and dealing with human waste in the backcountry (such as carting out of waste). Waste management at resorts and tertiary treatment plants is not within the scope of the workshop.

The workshop’s primary target is field staff and managers of the Australian Alps national parks. It is expected that the workshop will also generate considerable interest from field and management staff of other mountain protected areas, other park and land management agencies (eg forestry, councils, soil conservation), commercial operator and accommodation businesses, interest groups, armed forces, tertiary institutions and trade / industry representatives. The workshop aims to attract 100 participants including international speakers and delegates.

Workshop program

The workshop duration will be 5 days (4 nights) and will comprise:

  • plenary workshop sessions
  • concurrent workshop sessions
  • concurrent site visits, and
  • an industry / trade exhibition

The workshop will commence in Canberra and then move to Jindabyne and will incorporate a large component of in-the-field visits.

Call for Speakers

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee is currently inviting expressions of interest from speakers interested in presenting a paper or case study at the workshop.

Speakers with relevant knowledge and experience are being sought from Alps agency staff (including rangers and field staff) and from external organisations (including land managers from environmental and related agencies; other professionals, practitioners and industry suppliers in relevant fields (such as waste technology, health and safety regulation, water quality); user groups and backcountry tour operators).

Workshop topics

Papers are being sought in line with the themes listed below. Individual papers (particularly case studies) may cover several themes. We are also interested in potential speakers identifying topics (other than those listed) that demonstrate a link with the themes.

  • Human waste technologies for cold climate natural areas
  • Cart out waste techniques and issues
  • Design principles
  • Health and safety issues
  • Visitor needs, expectations and education
  • Local, National and International perspective’s and initiatives
  • Future Directions

For more information on the workshop contact:

Brett McNamara
Program Coordinator
Australian Alps national parks
Phone (02) 6207 1694

Share your copy of News from the Alps

If you think someone else might be interested in reading about news from the Alps, please pass it on to them or suggest they ask for their own copy by contacting the Program Coordinator.

Please tell us your stories What makes your ‘slice of heaven’ in the Australian Alps so appealing, tell the world. We want articles up to 500 words, with pictures on any topic, be it current issues facing land managers, to interesting and humourous stories about your work in the Australian Alps. A prize will be awarded for the most interesting article!

Send your article or short story to the Program Coordinator ASAP.

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