As the days grow warmer and spring wildflowers start to bloom across our landscape, Parks Victoria is encouraging visitors to prioritise their safety, respect nature and rangers who are continuing to clear parks and reserves affected by severe winter storms.
Rangers are working daily with professional arborists and skilled crews to identify and clear thousands of hazardous trees and tonnes of debris from popular walking tracks and roads across the estate, while excavators are aiding crews to move felled and heavy stumps. Restoration work to fences, steps and bridges remains extensive, with flooding and soil erosion at some sites increasing the complexity of repairs.
While extended closures within the Dandenong and Macedon Ranges remain essential for public safety, with popular sites such as the 1000 Steps and parts of Macedon Regional Park requiring long-term planning, this critical work has led to a staged re-opening of several visitor experiences across the state.
Always remember that the natural environment can be unpredictable. Please plan ahead and follow current COVID-19 guidelines, as well as the directions of closure signs and local rangers who are working to keep you safe.
Credit – Jacque Quaine
Balancing removal and retention
Victoria’s parks not only provide spaces for people to enjoy; they protect important habitat for wildlife. Though fallen trees and woody debris can pose a safety risk to visitors, they also play an important role in park ecosystems.
Spring is a particularly special time of year for parks – wildflowers are blooming, trees are blossoming, and many native animals are bringing their young into the world. Crevices under logs and hollows in trees provide safe places for mammals, reptiles, birds and invertebrates to live and are the perfect place to protect their young from predators. Fallen timber and tree hollows also have value far beyond basic shelter, providing food resources, erosion control and recycling nutrients in the ecosystem as it decays.
Parks Victoria is taking careful consideration during recovery works to ensure the balance between the removal of hazards and retention for environmental benefits.
At newly opened sites, please do not wander from cleared roads, tracks or visitor areas. Bushland areas away from key sites are not routinely assessed or treated for hazardous trees. Leave fallen or felled wood and logs where they lie.
Credit – Wayne Williams
Our storm response throughout spring
Credit – Darren Shiell
North west of Melbourne, local rangers are making significant progress managing the damage at Macedon Regional Park, Lerderderg State Park and Trentham Falls within the Coliban Scenic Reserve.
Regional Roads Victoria has partnered with Parks Victoria to completely clear and re-open Cameron Drive, the main road that provides access to several visitor sites in Macedon Regional Park. Sites including Harbison Picnic Ground, Top of the Range Tea Rooms, McGregor’s Picnic Ground and Camels Hump lookout have been re-opened ahead of school holidays. The much-loved Old Scout Camp Area below Bawden Road, English Street Blocks and park areas off Log Dump Road have also re-opened to vehicles and hikers.
The walking track from Bawden Rd to the Mount Macedon War Memorial, as well as the Reserve itself, remain closed. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are working with the Committee of Management to identify unstable trees including broken and hung-up branches near walking paths and viewing lookouts. Large ash trees and unstable ground conditions are still blocking access to Days and Sanatorium picnic grounds, as well as all other roads and tracks at Macedon Regional Park, including Lions Head Road and the Eco Walking Trail.
Hazardous tree work has started at Lerderderg State Park and is planned to commence in October at Trentham Falls, with these rangers working to open these sites as soon as possible.
Credit – Darren Shiell
Moving to the slopes of the Great Dividing Range, local crews are expecting to open the Andrews Hill Area at Kinglake National Park – including Mountain Creek, Andrews Hill, Dusty Miller and Stringybark Tracks – by late October. However, Mountain Creek Track access from Gordons Bridge Road will remain closed for some time due to bridge damage from a fallen tree. More than 30 kilometres of tracks have been cleared and crews are working to remove debris from track edges as they reach the final stages of this recovery work.
Credit – Jacque Quaine