News Falls Creek Hotham Alpine Crossing. The master plan. What a heap of horsepoo.

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The Falls Creek to Mt. Hotham Alpine Crossing redevelopment (FHAC) Master Draft has been published .Parks Victoria and the Govt. of VIC. , oh Lawdy Mama, what have you done?
    It is a debacle and a load of fiction crossed with a good serving of betty swollocks.

    http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/p...s/falls-to-hotham-alpine-crossing-master-plan

    Check out on Page 40. The Diamantina Hut is now located on top of the Bon Accord spur and on another page there is a green tree frog that has been labelled a wombat.

    That is just the start of it. The figures in terms of expected user pays walkers and the predicted profits are pure fantasy
    .It is time to go and camp on the top of the Diamantina spur while it is free, undeveloped , wild and natural. This FHAC Master Draft (a heap of horse poo cooked up by yuppies in an office ) seems like a done deal.
     
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  2. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    With a projected total project cost of $34M is is very unlikely to proceed in a screaming hurry or be anything less than a staged implementation process that will almost certainly result in much of the proposed infrastructure not ever happening.

    But something will commence, the bet now is what.
     
  3. zapruda

    zapruda Hard Yards

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    Looks like ubiquitous Steve will finally get the toilets he keeps asking for.

    Joking aside, I agree, this is a joke and very sad news.

    We have ****ed up enough of our alpine as it is.
     
  4. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local
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    Yep, I heard it reported on ABC TV or radio the other day, it was all rosy reportage about world's best multi day hike, tourism draw card. Spin basically, and the ABC ate it all up, not one question was asked, not even one. No question about essentially privatised public lands etc. They read the press release and moved on.
     
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  5. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    Might be a struggle with the proposed sealed vault toilets and LTO storage for the Hiker Camps. These need pump out vehicle access and not a lot of the proposed Hiker camps have this. Even better it is proposed that PV will be maintaining these, cos they do not have enough to do.

    Edit, and the Hiker Camp Toilets will be shared with the Operated Huts.:rolleyes:
     
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  6. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    NSW just got $21M for walking and cycling tracks.
     
  7. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty
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    I haven't had time to read the document but masterplan in the vic alps tends to mean aspirational vision of what they would like someone to fund, eventually. so probably most of it would never happen. still a worry
     
  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    In this document the plan includes putting a Café at Mt. Loch Car park and at Heathy Spur Trailhead. Perhaps it is too far to go get a skinny soy decaf late` at Falls Creek or Hotham Village. I mean heaven forbid, the poor people might have to walk 1 or 2 kms to get a coffee at the start or the end of this incremental privatization of the Alpine N.P. , which is a user pays abomination.
     
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  9. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable
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    Can I take my dog on these walks ?
     
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  10. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Maintenance of the whole infrastructure on an annual basis in such a extreme environment would exceed profits made from punters paying to do what we have done for FA x 2 for years during the green season. No new business makes a profit / full booking everyday without fail from its inception.
    However if this is potentially the start of winter heliskiing on Mt. Feathertop by stealth then this is also a worry.
     
  11. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum
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    Heli skiing? Why not go the full headless chook and panic about blocks of flats?
     
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  12. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The plan as it stands now in this document will not pay for itself during the projected green season period of operation. Some days up there in green season are not suitable or safe for user pays newbies to be out and about.
    So if this white elephant is actually built then the vested interests that are driving the plan might say let us use the built infrastructure on the top of the Diamantina Spur for fly in heli skiing and matching accommodation. Some skiers have a few extra shekels and might shell out for that kind of thing.
    So higher prices can be charged in white season to cover the lack of patronage during green season.
    It is all merely speculation. I shall have another hot cup of green tea and play some Freddie Hubbard on Vinyl and try not get my VNPA type knickers into a knot.
     
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  13. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local
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    I think heli skiing, like walking a dog is a very distant dream for some people in the Vic Alps. Not going to happen any time soon.
     
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  14. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum
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    Of course. How could I have missed this? Apart from its complete absence from the plan.
     
  15. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker
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    Why are multi storey apartments called flats?
     
  16. Seth

    Seth Old n' Crusty
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    Exactly.

    Be surprised if any of this infrastructure happens.
     
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  17. sidetrack

    sidetrack One of Us

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    Heli skiing on Mt Feathertop! Yeah right. Where would they land for pick ups, dreaming.
     
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  18. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    Then they will need snowmaking on Feathertop, to give the paying guests a consistent experience to match the Maccas.
     
  19. ecowain

    ecowain One of Us
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    Will it be covered on the Thredbo 365 pass, transfers Thredbo - Feathertop included?
     
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  20. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The FHAC master plan foresees building a Helipad on the flat bush camp site that exists on the top of the Diamantina Spur , just East of the summit of High Knob on the Razorback. It is a magnificent campsite but it has no water and thus no people :) . They all camp at Federation hut but lackaday the plan includes building User Pays glamping Lodges with fine wine and dining on this site as well as installing rainwater tanks and drop loos all to be serviced by Helicopter.

    The Plan also includes a new helipad near the Bottom of the Diamantina spur. Now we know that Helicopters are not cheap to run.
    If they were then we would all have one!.
    So these maintenance and logistical matters hinge upon the contingency of helicopters whizzing around what is meant to be a conservation zone in a Nat. park.
    This may not only stick in the craw of nature lovers but become too expensive to operate on a regular basis. Moreover some days on top of High Knob it will not be possible to get a chopper in there. The weather , wind and visibility will be , to use the technical term used by aviation experts and meteorologists, just "donkey droppings".
     
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  21. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    I thought you Vicco's were all for smashing highways everywhere, and an abundance of toilets and accommodation? Maybe some escalators.
     
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  22. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    The vested interests behind the scheme , plan to introduce incremental privatization of our National Parks and it would seem ,are trying to build their own " Overland Track " and get the same level of user pays patronage, but there is only one Tasmania and it is located further south.
    I oppose the inappropriate development , environmentally damaging misuse and commercial exploitation of OUR National Parks.
     
    #22 Mister Tee on XC Skis, Apr 18, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  23. telecrag

    telecrag Old n' Crusty
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    You could move to NSW with that attitude!
     
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  24. hongomania

    hongomania One of Us
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    Who actually comes up with this rubbish? Are they having a laugh? Helicopters! so I can't fly a drone legally to get footage of me sending it down hellfire; but helicopters buzzing about yeh nah no worries mate.

    As if there is any demand for this plan anyway. Will have a read of it soon
     
  25. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture
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    i know quite a few of them.......

    Yes it is
     
  26. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    Based on the Tas 3 whatevers track and other OS examples (see the Report for some references) this development is probably inevitable. The final form and timing maybe be very different to the current Report and that will be driven by funding be it out of PV funds (really should not be) Fed grant (possible) or commercial money.

    It might be better to accept that something is going to happen and seek to be a voice in moderating the final what result on teh ground really is to ensure non-commercial walkers / ski tourers (the forecast is 150ish walkers starting each month of the Winter months, see page 91) have reasonable access to the track and campsites and that facilities are not an un-funded maintenance burden on PV.

    It would be unrealistic to think that hardening (which will cost $XXXX.XX/ M) of the current trail on the Razorback will not be required in our lifetime. This project maybe a way of achieving (that is having it funded) that and that will not be a bad thing.
     
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  27. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Nahhh
    They are all for NSW having that stuff!
     
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  28. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Taking user pays newbies up the Diamantina spur in white season will end up with a Coroner's report eventually.
     
  29. Team Weasel

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    I've run out of f*cks to give about this matter. It won't affect my interactions with Feathertop. When I'm old and broken I might even do the walk using the fancy new buildings.

    I was starting to get a bit cut about the amount of heli traffic buzzing overhead last winter - but the positive of that is if I have a mischief, there's someone with the potential to help out.

    As for affecting skiing (kinda what this site is about), heli skiing is not on the cards for so many reasons alluded to above. Even guided touring is questionable, as in for safety and market. Those of us who ski out there already won't be paying for guides and choppers, and who's going to guide recreational skiers down no fall terrain with cliff bands, cornices and avalanches on the cards?
     
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  30. GS

    GS A Local
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    I think I saw it on Page 42.....chopper only flies skiers out to Feathertop from Hotham or Bright, the Swiss constructed tunnel with rack railway lifts skiers from the base back to the summit. Top station also has cafe and luxury winter only accomodation.
    ;)
     
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  31. hongomania

    hongomania One of Us
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    Having been up diamantina this season; the area they are proposing to build accommodation has all the feels. But more than that; to my experienced eye at least; is unique and wild. It is small and highly sensitive. Haven't we already got 3 major ski resorts already servicing a large variety and standard of walking terrain?

    While it doesn't mention heli skiing specifically; it isn't a massive stretch given the report already makes use of helicopters and says this

    "Subject to weather conditions and servicing
    access, roofed accommodation may have the
    potential to operate year-round to cater for cross
    country skiers and snowshoers. This white season
    use would be subject to further investigation
    and consultation with potential user groups and
    private operators."

    Might sound alarmist but I don't think it's an unreasonable assumption. At the very least emergency rescue when someone collapses from a heart attack.
     
  32. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    The experience in NZ & the OL track would suggest that it’s not a big issue. A very few people experience an issue, most are rescued, a very very few don’t make it.
     
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  33. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    What an inappropriate post! balanced, nuanced, insightful, rational - where’s a moderator when you need one!
     
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  34. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    I thought National parks were created to preserve native fauna and flora and to allow humans of all walks of life to recalibrate their equilibria in an unspoiled wild natural environment and NOT turn them into user pays Bleeding Lego Land crossed with Club Med crossed with a P and flipping O cruise , all for private profit .
    Oh Brave new world.
     
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  35. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Who is going to guide bumbling user pays newbies up the Diamantina spur in white season??. It is an accident waiting to happen. Consider the weather, the terrain and fitness required esp. in deep snow , zero visibility , high wind chill and scrambling up steep slippery rocks covered in ice etc.
    It took me 3.5 hours to crawl up the Diamantina spur in Dec. 2017 in perfect summer weather with a heavy pack .
    In white season it could take twice as long on foot esp. for newbies and I know how bad it can get out there in terms of toxic weather, exhaustion , hypothermia and skills/fitness needed in white season . I can use an ice axe, a rope and flexible crampons/ snow shoes.

    This idea of sending user pays glampers and bumblies up the Diamantina spur is just nuts.
    It is a wild place and should not be tamed!!!
     
  36. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Guiding bumblies is exactly what professional guides do.
     
  37. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum
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    And, just as importantly, deciding who can go and when.
     
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  38. sidetrack

    sidetrack One of Us

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    Climbing up Diamantina is easier during winter than summer. An average guide could get people up that. Also we have all skied lines on the face of Feathertop and there is no where on that face to do bottom pick ups. Heli skiing won’t happen. Huge difference between flying people out to a hut and heli skiing.
     
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  39. neilmny

    neilmny Hard Yards

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    If I recall the term "Hiker Camp" in these documents refers to the non glamping type paying walkers and would not be accessible by the common garden free agent walker.

    The sealed vaults would likely???? be transported by helicopter from a place like Feathertop......:eek:.......surely a track won't be bulldozed for the purpose along the Razorback :eek:
     
  40. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    There are track works planned to improve access through the bottom section of Diamantina Spur.

    I have climbed Diamantina Spur in Winter, there was 500 off loose fresh snow in the bottom of the valley and waist deep most of the way up and agree it is a slowish hard climb in the conditions.

    As for guiding folks the international and Tasmanian experience is that for experienced well trained guides difficult sections of track are; well difficult, but typically noting that cannot be overcome. In fact some trips overcoming difficulties is an intended part of the experience.

    The guided trip through the Western Arthurs has a few climbs down and up that are more complex than the current Diamantina Spur (which should be simpler once the track works are completed) and these would appear to be running OK. There are 2 points they often have punters roped up, but you just do what you gotta do to get through.

    In summary the guided trip is not breaking any new ground and there are plenty of examples of similar successful operations around the world.

    Don't get me wrong, I have concerns about aspects of the Inconic Track plan and a philosophical objection to anything that compromises the provision of the Park for the preservation of flora, fauns, geography and so.

    But if I am realistic and accept something is going to happen it makes sense to focus objections on what I see as the key issues and they are impact on non-commercial visitors to the area, sympathetic location and design of infrastructure and the ongoing funding of maintenance of infrastructure. There should be no to very minimal impact on non-commercial visitors, an example of this is the Cradle Mountain Huts operation. As already pointed out some of the recently installed infrastructure in the Bogong High Plains area is pretty but not very functional. And ongoing maintenance is a real bug bear for me, in Tasmana the South Coast Track had a rush of track work, stairs and pit toilets installed something like 20 years ago and while there was some new sections of track work installed since very little ongoing maintenance was funded so pit toilets were collapsing (at Granite Beach) and the stairs where the SCT leaves the beach and heads for Cockle Creek have been a danger to look at never mind use for years.
     
  41. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    Looking through the document it looks like the new toilets are to be shared by users of the Hiker Camps and Huts. The locations of these are remote from the existing camping areas most of which already have toilets, page 62 & 63.

    So yes it looks like you are correct that if you are not booked and paid for onto a Hiker Camp site you should not be using the new toilets. Not sure how this would be controlled. But if you were not booked into a Hiker Camp you would not be camping there any how.

    Page 58 talks about presumably new toilet at new trail head facilities. Again I'm not sure how you keep non paying punters out if that is the intention.

    But given that Parks are being given the job of all maintenance of this new infrastructure, refer page 110 I cannot see that they would deny a cross legged walker banging on the door toilet paper in had going blue in the face desperate for a quiet sit down and relaxing relief.
     
  42. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    You could deliver the materials for a sealed vault toilet by heli, materials movement is already a routine method used by Parks NSW, V and Tas.

    But the pump out requires a road and I do not see any new roads for this purpose being a reasonable thing to do.

    But maybe the intention is the sealed vault toilets are the fly in fly out like used in the more remote tracks in Tas. If so that is really naive given the Tas experience which is if you have something more than 1000 people nights (it might now be less, it's been over ten years since I spoke to a Tas Ranger about Western Arthur toilets) using the toilet with a fly in fly out vault / tank is not viable. And the forecast for the FTHAC is forecast to have over 7000, see page 51.
     
  43. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    Yes, there will be guides , that is if any private operator is foolish enough to think this pile of ill conceived old bollocks could be run at a profit.
    The proposed development of the Diamantina spur walking track so that it will have hand rails, designer benches to rest on every 500 metres, bench cut landscaped walking paths , luxury huts , a helipad etc. is to me abhorrent .Even then it is a tough slog up that hill in any season and is not going to be suitable for inexperienced would be user pays glampers, even if they put a flipping gondola chairlift up it , which may have been an idea bandied around in the consultancy firm office room during their brain storming sessions.
    I can't see much evidence of any brains being put to use here.
    The Diamantina spur is a conservation zone. Any development , especially aimed at the user pays or pushes off kind , flies in the face of that legislated designation.
     
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  44. hongomania

    hongomania One of Us
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    4 night walk! Hilarious (not a pissing contest - just think 4 nights in such a small area seems silly). For an iconic walk it's not much walking

    Who wants to come do it in a day for lols. I'm looking at you @tcross @Boodwah @NeoSamurai
     
    #44 hongomania, Apr 19, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
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  45. hongomania

    hongomania One of Us
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  46. hongomania

    hongomania One of Us
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    Go and spend the money on existing track maintenance. Or as I have previously mentioned buying hiking gear for people to borrow. Derp. Pay me I'll take them out. Oh wait I'm not "qualified" yeh man
     
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  47. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    If PV only had the money and staff to do existing infrastructure and track maintenance across the State of VIC .. At least in Nov. 2017 PV slashed and cleared the whole Diamantina spur walking track so it was like a super highway in Dec. 2017 compared to when I bush bashed down the last third of it a year or three before that.
     
  48. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    A couple of Australia's more distinguished businessmen (Geoff Dixon and Brett Godfrey) are all-in on guided walking tourism so I think you're missing the mark there by a fair margin.
     
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  49. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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    PV have emailed me about my 7, 000 word submission regarding the FHAC .
    "
    Parks Victoria has released the final master plan for the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing following a two-year, three stage stakeholder consultation process, developed in partnership with Tourism North East, Regional Development Victoria, Visit Victoria and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

    We are incredibly grateful for your support and involvement during the consultation process to shape the concept of the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing.

    The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing will offer an array of opportunities for visitors to discover and learn about the natural and cultural values of the Alps. The master plan will deliver:



    · New and environmentally friendly ‘hiker camps’

    · Updates and improvements to existing trails

    · 4 new low-impact ‘operator huts’ tailored for walkers who prefer a roof over their head

    · Educational experiences through guided tours and interpretive signage

    · World-class trail infrastructure constructed with environmentally sustainable materials and design

    · Increased visitation into the region, boosting overall tourism activity and regional dispersal of visitors

    · The creation of more than 200 jobs in construction, 99 of which will be regionally based, with another 130 full time jobs in the servicing sector

    In response to the consultation process, the following alterations were made to the master plan

    • A stronger focus on conserving the natural and cultural values of the Alps.

    • A review of projected visitor numbers and economic modelling.

    • A review of the Diamantina Spur trail feasibility.

    • Refinement of the proposal for 4 overnight accommodation sites on the trail to cater for a range of accommodation choices to suit the diversity of walkers. Night one: Bogong High Plains; Night two: Tawonga Huts; Night three: Diamantina River and Red Robin Battery; Night four: Mt Feathertop.

    • New Hiker Camps will offer environmentally sound and more convenient platform tent-based camping with new shelters for dining and socialising.

    • Dispersed camping is still supported along the full-length of the trail except within 100 metres of designated hiker camps, meaning that independent walkers can continue to walk the new trail free of charge.

    • A hiker camp is no longer proposed at the Federation Hut site. The hiker camp for night 4 will be located adjacent to the proposed operated hut site below High Knob, towards the top of the Diamantina Spur.

    • Dispersed camping will no longer be available at High Knob but campers can choose from other suitable flat sites nearby, so the full five-day and four-night experience will be available to independent walkers.

    • Track upgrades to provide a more achievable walking experience for the greater diversity of walkers, environmental protection and to limit erosion.

    Once again, Parks Victoria thanks you for your involvement and we look forward to working with you over the coming months and years to create an iconic walk for North-Eastern Victoria.

    For more information and to download the full Masterplan, please visit http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/alpine-national-park/plans-and-projects/falls-to-hotham-alpine-crossing-master-plan

    **Additionally, there will be a regional drop in information session to be held in both Northern Victoria and Melbourne- details to be confirmed and circulated to you shortly.



    Melanie McVey-Di Lazzaro

    Communications Advisor- Eastern Victoria

    T +6138427 2417 I M 0459 818 451

    E melanie.mcvey-dilazzaro@parks.vic.gov.au

    W www.parks.vic.gov.au

    Parks Victoria

    71 Hotham Street, Traralgon VIC 3844 "




    I smell a rat.
    Even if those two well know businessmen are big on guided tours and user pays hikes etc. , the figures that this document has come up that expect a profit to be generated are just wrong. Not many people walk the current FHAC in a year. Build the new one and they WON'T come.
    National Parks are a place to escape from the corrosive effects of capitalism that are strangling the very Planet we live on. They should not be developed or tamed . Development belongs outside of National Parks.
     
    hongomania likes this.
  50. Seth

    Seth Old n' Crusty
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
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    I’m pretty sure that two of the better placed people to work out what is viable would be Godfrey and Dixon.

    If you want to protect the national parks you need more people to experience them. I’m not saying that this walk is right but your attitude of zero development is not going to achieve anything. It needs to be appropriate.

    Why do people care about the barrier reef? Because they have seen it, swam in it. It’s hard to care about something you can’t ever see or experience.

    You’ve got to give a little sometimes to get what a better outcome overall.
     
    Kenziepettit, Gregah, Chaeron and 2 others like this.