Victoria’s highest mountain, Bogong (Warkwoolowler in the Waywurru and Dhudhuroa languages) is protected in the Alpine National Park.
Bogong connects on the eastern side with Mt Wills. This is all high elevation woodland and forests, and is the route by which the famous Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) leaves Bogong as it heads towards the Snowy Mountains. The 700 km long AAWT crosses the Alps from Walhalla to the outskirts of Canberra, and descends Long Spur from the summit of Bogong to Mt Wills before turning south and dropping into the valley of the Mitta Mitta River.
Mt Wills itself is a magical ‘island in the sky’ of isolated snow gum woodland, largely dominated by older trees. While it is connected by the long and high ridge back to Bogong, mostly the land around the mountain falls away to deep river valleys and forests that are initially dominated by Alpine Ash.
The higher mountain areas are largely intact, although significant areas have been burnt, often several times in close succession, in recent years. And now there is a threat posed by logging in the area where the AAWT/ Long Spur track starts the climb up to Mt Wills, which would create a large clear cut area of more than 100 hectares.
There are four coupes in total planned for the Long Spur area: three where the AAWT starts the climb up into the intact snow gum woodlands of Mt Wills and one closer to Bogong itself. This last one is a worry because it is in the headwater area of the Big (Mitta Mitta) River, which flows from a valley between Mt Bogong and the Bogong High Plains. The Mitta is one of the most important rivers in the state and feeds the Dartmouth Dam, and then the Murray River.
The coupes are listed in the Victorian government’s Timber Release Plan, and scheduled for logging any time between now and 2026.
These coupes contain ‘modeled old growth’ according to VicForests surveys.
In recent years there has been substantial logging to the north and north west of Mt Wills, along the edge of the Omeo Highway. These new coupes will push further into the wilder country of the higher mountains and will directly impact on the AAWT. The old forests of Mt Wills are of incredibly high ecological value, and having fire prone regrowth forests down hill on the north western side of the mountain poses a significant long term threat to these forests.
Saturday May 20
If this concerns you, please join us for a walk to Mt Wills on Saturday May 20. It is about a 90 minute walk up a good 4WD track to reach the summit, where we will explore the old growth snow gum woodlands.
We will then lead interested people to visit some of the forests along the AAWT that are listed to be logged.
Please arrive by 9am for a 9.30am sharp start. The walk will finish by 3pm.
Note that this is an isolated area, roughly a 6 hour drive from Melbourne, so plan to arrive in the area on Friday night.
This is a free event. Please RSVP. We will then send you all the details on what gear you will need, local accommodation options, and the meet point for the walk.