Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Victoria specific bushwalking discussion.
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Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby CaptainC » Sun 08 Nov, 2015 6:46 pm

I've just received the following:
Dear All,



Tourism North East are keen to get your input with respect to the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing, in particular the proposed route, features and attributes that will make it a compelling part of the 655 kilometre Australian Alps Walking Track.



In conjunction with other vested parties, TNE have Ministerial approval to undertake the first round of preliminary consultation for the draft Masterplan for the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing. As this is preliminary, there will be further, more comprehensive consultation to be done in coming months, before the finalisation of the submission (a brief timeline is presented on the link below).



You can click on (or copy and paste the link) http://www.tourismnortheast.com.au/alpine-crossing/ to find the collateral which outlines the proposed alignment and the overarching objectives of the project.



TNE are eagerly seeking feedback from a very broad range of operators, stakeholders, local town influencers, LGA's and would greatly appreciate your assistance and participation in reviewing the link and information contained in the two page flyer.



Then – to provide your input, please participate in this short survey:



https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/79W9NBZ



Please feel free to circulate to any other interested parties that may have feedback that could be useful, at this preliminary stage, in helping to develop an iconic trail, linking both Falls Creek and Mt Hotham.



Thanks in advance for your participation.



Regards

Stuart Smythe

Chief Executive Officer

Falls Creek
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Mon 09 Nov, 2015 6:39 am

Thanks for this. It skipped past me. I am not too comfortable with what they are doing on the High Plains now but this is all about people making money. The Alpine resorts see it as a way to increase their cash flow when the snow is gone. Funny how Falls Creek is promoting all the summer activities now but yesterday we popped in after a day walk just to get an ice cream and everything was shut. How are they going to attract people if facilities at the start are closed. Hotham is worse. We still can't get any information about the MTB trails they have opened up but there is a big sign advertising it. This proposal will no doubt mean building accommodation at High Knob or at least making a campsite there. Is that something we would want? Not me. It would probably also mean accommodation being built at Tawonga Huts and Blair's. Don't know anyone who would sleep in Blair's. Diamantina spur would make the route a challenge but I suppose it could always be done in reverse. Make it a tourist route and then all the interpretive signs pop up and then boardwalk so their shoes don't get muddy. You will also have to pay to camp or be pushed away from the commercially developed camps. We are sick of the resorts dictating what goes on outside their area and this is all about the resorts and commercial interests. I should probably reserve some comment for others.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby stry » Mon 09 Nov, 2015 7:37 am

Well put Explora ! I share your discomfort.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Earwig » Mon 09 Nov, 2015 9:43 am

The questions in the survey are:

Are you familiar with the Falls Creek and Mount Hotham Region?
Are you comfortable with the proposed route alignment for the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing?
What are the proposed Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing alignments strengths?
What are the proposed Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing alignments weaknesses?
Does the proposed Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing route miss any of the unique landscape features / offers that could potentially enhance the experience?
What audience segments do you believe the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing should be marketed towards?
What visitor services / facilities should be offered to make the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing attractive to both local and international markets?
Are there any further comments you would like to submit on the proposed Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing Master Plan?
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Mon 09 Nov, 2015 11:00 am

The survey monkey link from this page http://www.tourismnortheast.com.au/alpine-crossing/ did not show these questions so you need to go to the link in the original post. I have been told it is only a concept idea and if enough groups get stuck into them they will have to change. There is really not enough information on it published so we would have to see the fine print. I don't think I would be offering any help as to more places from them to invade or facilities to put in. It is busy enough up there already without making it too easy for people.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Mon 09 Nov, 2015 11:08 am

Do they not realise that promoting such a walk could well destroy the character of the walk, and require a great deal of funding for track maintenance? Does anyone have a figure, even approximate, for the cost of maintaining tracks in semi-remote regions? I gave some feedback well over a year ago and received no reply.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Earwig » Mon 09 Nov, 2015 1:50 pm

It appears that there are two different surveys, depending on which link you use.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Mon 09 Nov, 2015 2:39 pm

I am against turning any other place in the Nat. Parks into a bleeding conveyor belt the way the Southern section of Wilson's Prom has become . I wonder what the VNPA will say about all of this.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby north-north-west » Mon 09 Nov, 2015 4:41 pm

Lophophaps wrote:Do they not realise that promoting such a walk could well destroy the character of the walk, and require a great deal of funding for track maintenance?

Maybe. Maybe not. The more important question - and one easier to answer - is whether they* care. They don't.


*'they' being management and politicos. I mean no disrespect to the field staff.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Mark F » Mon 09 Nov, 2015 4:54 pm

Interesting that they try to link the route with being part of the AAWT. The current AAWT route is only followed for part of Day 1, but I do think the suggestions made some time ago on this forum for including Bogong and Feathertop on the AAWT route made a lot of sense.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Tue 10 Nov, 2015 1:51 pm

Having Feathertop and Bogong on the AAWT is one matter. It seems that the Falls-Hotham walk is designed to attract masses of people, and that's quite different.

Has anyone seen the poster for the propsoed wallk? The poster strikes me as too complicated. Also, I think that a picture of Feathertop has been labelled as Hotham. If so, oops.

The walk goes from Blairs on a new alignment to cut into Diamantina Spur. I think that this may be at about 1440 metres. Am I close? The horse yards near here are a sop to history, to give some romance to the place. As far as I know there has never been a horse yard at this place.

I'm not at all sure that the government will provide ongoing funding for maintenance, which will be in the millions. For this sort of money, plus the cost of initial infrastructure, the return is apalling, devoid of economic benefit.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby rocketrm2 » Tue 10 Nov, 2015 6:38 pm

I don't know if its about masses of people?
But interestingly, last weekend (7th to 9th November) my son and I hiked Heathy Spur to Fitzgerald Hut to Cope Saddle back to Falls via Pretty Valley, it was great. Apart from one couple on a day walk , despite near perfect weather we didn't encounter any other hikers. Furthermore my son checked all the Log/Intention books and found that over the last year there had been few hikers,or few hikers who write in the books.
In fact I wonder if about from Tasmania's Overland track, and Wilson's Prom if any one is hiking, I have done a lot of the Goldfields track never seen a sole,same goes for the the bits of the AAWT then I have ventured along.
Making a booking to go hiking does not appeal to me at all.
The idea of making some of our trails more accessible, I would consider it. It does not mean 4 star lodges, etc, the loss of wilderness etc. Sustainable low key well managed accessibility, to the High country could have social and economic benefits. I am sure the biggest defenders of the high country etc are those who in fact experienced it.
Having said that, in our above hike we found the trails well marked enjoyable and good condition
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Tue 10 Nov, 2015 7:45 pm

I went to 'the conveyor belt' , I mean the Prom and walked the SE circuit there last weekend. We fanged it and did the 36 kms in two days and one night.

Apart from another VNPA related group that I met along the way , they were all new to hiking kind of people. Some had no idea really what a with wearing sneakers, packs hanging down around the backs of their knees , a myriad of things hanging off their packs and all but they were mostly harmless , as Douglas Adams once put it.
The Alpine N.P. is not over run with people which is why I thrive on hiking there. In places it is tough and requires some above average fitness, proper gear and navigation skills. I am not keen on having any of the Alpine N.P. turned into a bleeding conveyor belt.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby neilmny » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 4:45 am

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:........... they were all new to hiking kind of people. Some had no idea really what a with wearing sneakers, packs hanging down around the backs of their knees , a myriad of things hanging off their packs and all.......


You judge others fairly harshly PCV...everyone has to start somewhere and I'm sure you were not born an expert.
So what if there's a lot of people doing the Prom, I hope they really enjoy it, are encouraged to try more places and learn as they go.

On the subject at hand....the proposed plan makes me nervous......are we to see the BHP taken over by exclusive lodges and one direction walking tracks that you have to book your passage on like the GOW?
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 5:42 am

This is a concept plan and not enough is know (or has been made available) about their real intentions but if traffic increases then they will have to deal with upgrades such as raised boards. Some areas of the walk are very wet and pass sensitive bogs. If you read between the lines it says the partnership between public and private will help pay for this. This means the private will have to be given some level of control. The resorts seem to yield a great deal of power over an area that is not really theirs. They close the BHP road at Trapyard gap because they do not want people accessing the resort without paying. They have done this on the June weekend when there is not snow and have locked people out who have travelled over for the day. It is not their gate to close. Perhaps they have good contacts within government. I have no problem with promoting the area and attracting visitors internationally even but when you start messing with the landscape for the sake of a dollar then I get riled up. Track upgrades and good sign posting is important and what has been done so far does not detract from the walk. What they have done at the 'high volume visitor nodes' is more of an eyesore. I feel the idea is to turn it into a walk like the Overland track or NZ which in time will mean strict controls on numbers and of course a permit.

'The Environmental Risk Assessment
highlighted that the proposed route would not
signifi cantly impact the surrounding landscape
provided the management recommendations
proposed in the plan are fully implemented.'

I would like to know what these recommendations are and also what infrastructure they intend to build and where. We could be worried about nothing but I doubt it.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby andrewp » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 8:10 am

There are more details about the plan at the url below. Take a look at the poster. They are talking platforms, removable glamping and eco lodges. Why do need a proliferation of this stuff all across the high plains. It's all about making money and destroying the bush. I'm seeing steps and handrails up Diamantina Spur, a huge scar across the Razorback with a metre wide track a la Three Two Capes Track in Tassie.

http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/alpine-national-park/plans-and-projects/falls-to-hotham-alpine-crossing-master-plan

There is a briefing session on Wed 25th (see below). Possibly a good opportunity to provide feedback if you have the time and/or energy to do so. I'm going to try to attend. It might make an impact if enough people turn up.

Parks Victoria together with Tourism North East, Visit Victoria and Regional Development Victoria invites you to attend the:

Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing preliminary concept – Melbourne based stakeholder briefing

The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing will be a world-class, long-distance walking experience, showcasing the beauty of the Alpine National Park’s natural and cultural landscape.


The project team would like to invite you to contribute your feedback through an open briefing session with the project and consultant team.


When Wednesday 25 November 10.00am – 12.30pm
Where Karsten Conference Centre, 123 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
RSVP No later than 18 November
Email FHAC@parks.vic.gov.au


If you are unable to attend this briefing session but would still like to provide feedback on the plan, please email your comments to the project team at: FHAC@parks.vic.gov.au

The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing preliminary concept can be accessed via the following link:
http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks ... aster-plan
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 6:35 pm

I am going to attend the briefing session and I will not hold back on what I see as paving paradise and putting up a parking lot. I shall pass on the details to others who will not be happy either.

I have alerted the VNPA about this.. The VNPA stopped the Prom being further developed into a huts at every campsite kind of lego land and fought to keep grazing beef cattle out of the Alpine N.P.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 6:53 pm

I cannot find the references, but I recall reading that the briefing is two days after the close of submissions. Is my recollection correct? The key point to stress is the lack of economic basis and justification.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby north-north-west » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 7:09 pm

Xplora wrote: They close the BHP road at Trapyard gap because they do not want people accessing the resort without paying.

Which is kind of ironic, because the road was sealed largely because of pressure from landowners within the village.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby JulianS » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 8:46 pm

I don't have any experience interpreting these sorts of things, but the wording suggests that the powers that be have already decided that 'something' will happen; i.e. it's not a matter of 'if' this project will go ahead - more 'how' / 'what'. Would others agree? Does consultation usually begin any earlier - i.e. at conception of the idea, before a master plan is drafted?

I ask because what this has drawn my attention to is that it's the 3rd of 4 'iconic walks' projects in Victoria (GOW, Grampians Peaks being the first two) and that the 4th is planned for the Croajingolong Wilderness Coast (!) - an area I feel very strongly about protecting from any kind of additional intervention. However, I don't want to encourage deviation from the OP's subject, so I may start a separate topic on that after doing some more reading.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 9:26 pm

JulianS wrote:I don't have any experience interpreting these sorts of things, but the wording suggests that the powers that be have already decided that 'something' will happen; i.e. it's not a matter of 'if' this project will go ahead - more 'how' / 'what'. Would others agree? Does consultation usually begin any earlier - i.e. at conception of the idea, before a master plan is drafted?


The concept can come from several sources: The Minister, Parks staff, users, local business, local shires and others. Until the basics have been sorted then there's not much point going public, which is where we are now. It does appear that the decision has been made, and it's up to the public servants to push it through.

JulianS wrote:I ask because what this has drawn my attention to is that it's the 3rd of 4 'iconic walks' projects in Victoria (GOW, Grampians Peaks being the first two) and that the 4th is planned for the Croajingolong Wilderness Coast (!) - an area I feel very strongly about protecting from any kind of additional intervention. However, I don't want to encourage deviation from the OP's subject, so I may start a separate topic on that after doing some more reading.


This iconic walk description is just marketing hype. You cannot market something to greatness - it will happen over time when those who visit or use it voice their views. The OLT and Milford Tracks are great because they travel through spectacular scenery. The Grampians walk will never reach that level as it's too close to the road for much of the journey. The GOW may as it has the wilderness of the sea on one side. I can't see any walk on the Bogong High Plains being iconic. Spectacular, enjoyable, and other like words apply, but not iconic.

Croajingolong Wilderness Coast? Wot? Let's see if I have this right. Parks Vic is takeing out tracks and markers in wilderness and someone wants to have a track upgrade with huts, private lodges and maybe new tracks, something like that. Wow.

I stress again the need to fight these issues on economics. Let the state opposition known that the figures (what figures?) do not stack up. Governments hate looking like poor economic managers.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby JulianS » Wed 11 Nov, 2015 10:34 pm

Perspective of someone from Parks Vic: http://architectureau.com/articles/adam ... e-profile/

Specific discussion of Falls to Hotham proposal about three-quarters of the way down the page.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 5:59 am

Thanks Julian for that link. This is part of what was said.

'The masterplan suggests that if we want to create a really high-quality walking experience that’s going to match the walks in Tasmania or New Zealand, then we need to place hiker camps in the best scenic locations.'

So they feel it is OK to put hiker camps, which means commercial accommodation, on the bits we all like to look at. Plenty of good comment here and I agree about attacking on economic grounds but the environmental damage is also legitimate. The government does not have enough money to pay for staff to work weekends and they want to throw money at this. As I have said, the partnership with private enterprise will be courted to pay for most of it so it is a matter of the government raping the park to get some money. Just last weekend there were 2 horse riding groups illegally on the High Plains and some deer hunters. A month ago someone cut a number of gates on the BHP. So when they bring more people in do they leave it up to the private operators to police or do they fund more Parks staff? It could be worse. Have anyone ever climbed Mt Bruce in WA to see what that government does with its parks? They sell it off to the mines. You get a great view of a huge open cut so they can build a huge ferris wheel in Perth. If private concerns are footing a large portion of the bill then the government can be less concerned about the economic benefit. It also seems to be pushed as a one direction walk with Falls Crk as the start which suggests the driving force is from Falls (as per the letter from the CEO). All resorts are pushing for 'green season' events to boost their cash flow and make them more economically viable. People are selling up lodges or at least trying to and it is hard to change the mindset of the ski lodges to think about staying open in the summer. Hotham is promoting a tarmac rally and hillclimb which failed miserably this year as it could not get permission to close roads. Not Hotham's fault. I am fighting to stop that next year. The resorts are worried and they influence. I wonder where the idea for all this came from? It is good to have so many people willing to do a small bit to help. It all adds up.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 4:10 pm

The VNPA are onto this. They will be at the meeting on 25/11/15.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Lophophaps » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 5:42 pm

paidal_chalne_vala wrote:The VNPA are onto this. They will be at the meeting on 25/11/15.


From the website on the OP:
"The first round of preliminary consultation closes on the 23rd November 2015".
So a meeting on 25 November is after the first round of preliminary consultations closes. Great. it seems to me critical that submission be in on or before 23 November to frame the direction of the meeting on 25 November. I've asked PV why the first round closes two days before the meeting and await their reply with interest. I also asked for the figures and a cost-benefit analysis to prove the "'demonstrable economic benefits to the local community, the region and the State" cited by Parks Victoria. This too wil be interesting. Until I see the figures and they stand up to scruntiny there is no economic basis. The correct email seems to be FHAC@parks.vic.gov.au.

If we flood PV with rational negative views based on conservation values and economics it will go a long way to showing the strength of the opposition.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby paidal_chalne_vala » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 7:38 pm

The VNPA tell me they have been onto this for a while but are careful not to make too much noise about it because it generates publicity which could backfire on them and their quiet lobbying against this stuff .
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby sim1oz » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 7:50 pm

I've done a circuit walk from Falls Creek to Hotham and back. It is still one of my favourite walks. I must admit I am uncomfortable about the idea of building huts, glamping tents or lots of platforms in the alpine area. The visual impact and increase in the number of people would take away that remote feeling which I enjoyed so much. However, I also feel like a bit of a hypocrite since we are going tramping in NZ next year and have booked to stay in some of the Great Walks huts. Why is it ok for accommodation like that to be built in NZ or Tassie (eg. OLT) but not here in Vic?

I can't reconcile the two, but nevertheless I don't like what is being proposed. I love the simplicity and freedom of walking and camping in these areas, and that may get lost in the commercial push. I am also sceptical of the supposed economic benefits given the cost of building in more remote areas, and I definitely don't want more roads created to service these proposed hut/glamping sites.

Glad to hear that the VNPA is onto this and is going to go to the meeting.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby wildlight » Thu 12 Nov, 2015 9:00 pm

sim1oz wrote:I can't reconcile the two


Hey Sim1oz

Maybe I can make some sense of it for you.

It would be that the Overland Track huts are what you (and perhaps all of us) understand to be part of the experience of going there- same with NZ.

On the same note- none of us associate the Victorian Alpine Area with "infrastructure" or whatever trendy word of the day they use to name it (development)… so "glamping it up" doesn't make for an attractive proposition.

"Simplicity and freedom"- what great words, especially when used together. Drop a bushwalker in there- and they've found "the zone".

cheers
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby Xplora » Fri 13 Nov, 2015 6:09 am

Sim1oz - we already have a large number of huts in the High Country. Some built for cattlemen and others for emergency shelter. Many of the huts burnt in the fires have also been replaced with bigger, better huts such as Michell, Federation, Westons and Ropers huts. These huts are not supposed to be used for anything other than emergency shelter and you should always carry a tent. I would not sleep in any of them anyway as there are too many critters. This is also a big problem with the huts on the OLT. I think any new huts built will be paid for and run by private enterprise and may not be available to you unless you pay. This could then lead to the private concerns controlling who is allowed to walk on the track. That is a bit of a stretch but if people do the walk and by-pass their expensive accommodation to camp elsewhere then they will complain. There is no way they can build a road to the Razorback so a building on High Knob would have to be flown in as a whole unit or piece by piece just like they did when rebuilding other huts. People will also not want to pay to stay in Blair's or the Tawonga huts so what do they plan there? Without new huts it will mean more of the ugly platforms like what has been put in around Cope Hut which you already have to book and pay for. I wonder how that is going? Also to make Diamantina spur doable for the target market would take a lot of work. Even when I was marathon running I would have thought twice about it so how are they going to lure an unsuspecting tourists there and make them walk up it carrying a full pack or will they employ porters. I doubt anyone here is about stopping people making a bit of money or stopping people from enjoying the area but it does not need to be vandalised.
Marketing people are also good at exaggerating figures to show ‘demonstrable economic benefit’ and government can say ‘look at all we are doing to promote Victoria and bring money in’. The government can then abdicate responsibility for the track and take away money from Parks.
NZ and Tassie rely heavily on tourism for money. Whatever they do or their people approve is really up to them but we have enough huts already. If staying in the huts is your only option to do the walk then it is reconciled and since they already exist it again can be reconciled. Be assured, whenever the resorts want to make money they will make it as easy as possible to attract people and glamp it up for the big dollars.
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Re: Falls Creek to Mt Hotham Alpine Crossing

Postby north-north-west » Fri 13 Nov, 2015 6:20 am

The biggest difference with the OT huts is that in Tassie track improvement and other infrastructure such as public huts and tent platforms have always been done in order to protect the environment from the effects of use, not to lure in more people for the simple purpose of making money. The private huts are a different matter, and many - if not most - of us are opposed to an expansion of that sort of footprint within our NPs.

As Xplora said, there are already heaps of huts in the High Country, and they are kept there principally through the 'heritage' argument. Allowing private construction of facilities in the most scenic areas so a private group can make money out of the National Park is a matter for concern. Even more so when that limits the freedom of people to enjoy those areas - because you can be sure that these private investors will start arguing for some degree of exclusivity in order to help marketing their 'product'. [political rant] It's really just another version of the Lib's attempt to sell off development leases within the NPs to make a quick buck and provide fancy-pants holiday homes for their toffee-nosed mates. [/rant]
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