Cattlemen Booted from High country - 4wd next?

Submitted: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 19:45
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Cattlemen to vacate national park

Mountain cattlemen will no longer be able to let their stock graze in the Alpine National Park after a decision by the Bracks Government.

Most of the 61 licences will expire in August and not be renewed.

The State Government has offered more than $5 million to compensate cattlemen and improve the park.

The decision has been welcomed by environment groups and the National Trust, but condemned by independent MP Craig Ingram, who said the decision was a "dark day for small rural communities".

********************WELCOMED BY 4 GREENS*************************

Premier Steve Bracks said the decision did not mean the end of alpine grazing, as cattlemen would still be allowed to run their cattle in state forests.

Environment Minister John Thwaites said: "This is the right decision. All the science for many years has indicated that cattle grazing is not consistent with a national park."

Sir Gus Nossal, microbiologist Professor Nancy Millis and the CSIRO's Dick Williams were at the announcement today to explain the scientific reasons behind taking cattle out of the national park.

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AdvertisementThe National Trust has argued that grazing puts at risk dozens of plant species, the headwaters of significant river systems and is inconsistent with the management objectives of a national park.

But mountain cattlemen maintain alpine grazing is a "critically important cultural link from the past to the future". It says it reduces fuel for bushfires, benefits tourism, helps monitor pest plants and vermin, and has community support.

It says the cattlemen "feel honour-bound to continue the great tradition of responsible cattle grazing started by their families and predecessors about 170 years ago".

But a CSIRO report last December found that grazing had no discernible impact on fuel loads.

The cattlemen say cows have an impact, but the high country is in excellent condition.

They also point out that the country is not pristine, and this is true.

The human hand from aqueducts to ski fields to dams has changed the landscape.

In the drought periods at the turn of last century, between 20,000 and 40,000 sheep were grazed on the Bogong and Mt Hotham high plains.

The park also has a problem with wild horses, deer and rabbits.

As an environmental historian, Lawrence says historic photographs show most of the bog damage and vegetation loss happened in the 1920s and '30s.

Soil scientist Ken Rowe and alpine hydrologist and environmental historian Ruth Lawrence, both from La Trobe University, have studied how cattle reduce the reliability, timing and quality of water that flows down from the high country and ultimately to the state's food bowl.

Cattle expose bare ground, which increases run-off. This may seem like a good thing, but the water erodes the soil and reaches streams more quickly, making the catchment more "flashy", reducing water quality and increasing the risk of flooding in lower areas.

When the alpine bogs which hold 10 times their weight in water degrade, they stop acting like sponges that slowly release water year-round. This is critical to farmers who rely on water during summer. Cattle also urinate and defecate in the alpine streams.

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Reply By: Scubaroo - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 19:58

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 19:58
...and this is a bad thing? I would expect people should be applauding this move - the fragile alpine environment has one less pressure on it.

One just has to go for a hike around the Bogong/Falls Creek area to see the damage that can be done by even human foot traffic of just a handfull of hikers a day - 18" deep scars carved across the face of hills where hikers have worn down vegetation allowing erosion to get a foothold. God only knows what damage has been inflicted by 170 years of cattle grazing.

Weigh up what's at stake here - 170 years of tradition and income for a very small number of people, or the damage of habitat that's been pristine for tens of thousands of years. Bit shortsited to sacrifice it for steaks and burger patties wouldn't you say? What would it be like in another 170 years?

The article makes no mention of 4wds being banned. If I remember correctly from my last visit, 4wds aren't supposed to leave defined tracks - cattle go anywhere.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark W (VIC) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:16

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:16
Think

check your last paragraph
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Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:26

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:26
Did I miss a pun about 4wds being able to go anywhere? :-)
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Follow Up By: GOB & denny vic member - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:52

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:52
scubaroo
soooo obviously YOU stay at home away from these areas so that you dont add to any damage
steve
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Follow Up By: Member - Barry W (VIC) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:59

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:59
Good call Mark
It's not only 4wd's, 2wd's are to blame as well (generalising here)
On a recent trip to the Otways our group (3 vechicles) came across a
Datsun stuck at the bottom of a valley stuck in the creek blocking the track signs every where at start of track saying 4wd only ????
Must admit we were pretty impressed that they got that far even with panel damage.
No we aren't supposed to leave tracks but us responsible 4wd's no
better !!!
We got on the HF radio and reported the vehicle to the police hopefully something will be done about it ?????
Cheers
Barry
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Reply By: Pterosaur - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:17

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:17
Reminds me of a sticker I once saw - "MOUNTAIN CATTLEMEN CARE FOR THE HIGH COUNTRY - "But their cattle DON'T"".

Seems fair enough to me.

I guess the message for 4wd owners and drivers is to respect the country they visit, keep on tracks where they exist, and be aware of the damage they are able to cause, and the consequences that follow (loss to both bush values and visiting privileges).

I've seen enough damage caused by thoughtless !@@#@##'s to make me wonder at the mentality of some. I have been 4wd'ing for a while, and not had to bog myself in a lagoon (or buttongrass plain) up to the door handles, yet. Haven't had to do donuts on "wallaby lawn" so that it looked like it had been ploughed, nor found it necessary to drive up a dune midden, smashing the veg. that protects against erosion, maybe I'm missing something ?

enuff said
AnswerID: 112650

Reply By: Member - Crazie (VIC) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:30

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:30
I find this so dissapointing, these cattlemen made this area the the popular place it is. The cattle help control the growth of flora in this area and it can only lead to overgrown area with pontenial for uncontrolable bush fires.

We were brought up on the man from snowy river, believing in the cattle men of australia, the backbone of this land. We all frequent the huts built by these famillies, and now it will soon be over for them. Shame to the government i say, the people who made this decison probably have never been there or never spent time on a farm in their life.

What country are we living in anyway...........
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:49

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:49
Step 1.
Ban Cattle

Step 2.
2wd access to Craigs etc..
no need for 4wd access then.
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Reply By: lindsay - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:30

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:30
If one remembers Bracks & the labour Party went to the last election with a policy of ceasing the Alpine grazing to pacify the city greens and get their vote. They only had the so called study the re-inforce their decision, as it was always cut & dried. Ingram is only trying to save his political skin as it was him and his 2 independant mates who put Bracks in office.
In other words don't have an enquiry until you are sure you can be sure of the final decision.
Next they will start on the Barmah forest and along the Murray.
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Reply By: Member - Crazie (VIC) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:38

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:38
If you all cannot see the next step, it will be to ban the 4wd access to these areas...........

think about what you are saying
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:45

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:45
Save ya breath crazy... they need the Mr Magoo School of looking beyond 1 second from now.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:46

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:46
also with how popular 4wds are at moment, think of the votes Bracks would win back, he may even get another 2 votes at next election if he bans 4wds.
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Follow Up By: GOB & denny vic member - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:57

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:57
its time the greeenies were sent into these areas to fight the bushfires that occur up there instaed of putting our firemens lives at risk because of these ar#######holes and the uni student protestors (who grow up to be politicains
steve
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Follow Up By: Member - Browny (VIC) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 19:06

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 19:06
Ya spot on Crazie,

They start with the easiest Target ie the poor old Catleman, next will be the Trailbikes (not such a bad thing imo) then us.

I saw it with the Marine parks in PPB.

How's the discusting new adds on the radio by the Bracks gov't promoting the banning of "cows" from the high country...Fairdinkumbleepe.

Browny
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Reply By: Member - Barry W (VIC) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:02

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:02
Hi All
Question:-
What is the differance between the high country where cattle graze
and where the ski slopes are ???
Bitumen roads have run off too
What has changed in those respective areas over the past 170 yrs
Can we justify one over the other ???
Just a thought
Cheers
Barry
AnswerID: 112667

Follow Up By: Member - Mark W (VIC) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:26

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:26
only the cattleman have a long term view. they have sons and daughters that want to be cattlemen and so on and so on
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Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 09:59

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 09:59
G'day Mark,

might be true, but if you're right, then how come so much of our agricultural land has been (and is being) buggered ? I've spent a lot of time working with groups trying to repair degraded land and streams etc., - working with various primary producers - unfortunately it is all too common for them to claim that they "cannot afford" appropriate/sustainable land management practices.

Barry, thanks for the input - they all cause problems as you point out - it's the "balance" thing I guess.

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Reply By: Member - Bernard - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:50

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:50
About time Popularists, Greenies, the Politically Correct, and Politicians started to use their brains (!?) a bit.

We are all the population of today and we are all the environment of today. It's unrealistic to keep banning things, fencing off areas, and artificially conserving things that "might/will runout".

If these people had been able to have a say in the late 1920s there would't be a Sydney Harbour Bridge. If they'd been able to have a say in the late 1940swe wouldn't have a Snowy River Hydro Electric scheme.

Gosh! If our ancestors had thought that way, there'd be no Stonehenge and there certainly wouldn't be some of the wonderful cities around the world - they'd be a collection of old mud or bark huts.

Man will continually change the environment, change the planet -- that's what makes life interesting. Sure some thing will run out ... so what? Mankind always advances quickest when faced with adversity and problems. Sure, we'd all like to preserve endangered species ... but things dying out is all part of nature and progress. What? They want the dinosaurs back. What about the sabre-tooth tiger ... or the mastodon? Things die, things run out. Before oil and a lot of other "essentials" finally run out, human beings will have invented something better.

I'd rather see and live in a changing world than get stuck in the past. Let's shoot the Politicians, gas the Greenies and hang the Politically Correct. Let's all get on with enjoying life -- crumbs, there are just too many people who think they know how to live your life better than you and know better than you what's best for you. They're a bunch of hopeless jerks who get more attention than their collective lack of IQs should entitle them to receive.

Long live progress.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:56

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:56
About time Popularists, Greenies, the Politically Correct, and Politicians started to use their brains

if your waiting for that, I hear theres another iceage on the way - it will be a battle for which comes first...

LOL! ;)
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Follow Up By: Member - Bernard - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 22:19

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 22:19
Hi Truckster,

Sorry! You're right, of course. But we can live in hope. After all, don't the churchmen keep telling us the age of miracles is not past.

Mind you, I don't believe in the Tooth Fairy either.

Regards,

Bernard
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Reply By: Steve West - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:54

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:54
The problem is the cattle men dont line the pockets or do anything worthy for the politian but the consortiams that build these big resorts by ripping up hundreds if not thousands of acers of trees put in tared roads etc etc can, as at the least, they give some where for the poly's and the like to go. One must wounder who's sleeping with who as the saying goes.
Steve West
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 11:37

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 11:37
The problem is the cattle men dont line the pockets or do anything worthy for the politian

I think we have a winner... well put .
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Reply By: ROTORD - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 00:04

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 00:04
Before man arrived , Australia was rich in MEGAFAUNA . The megafauna , including giant wombats , kangaroos and diprotodons browsed on brush and sapplings and the terrain was largely trees and grasses . The megafauna dissappeared coincident with the arrival of the first aborigines and it was only the aboriginal practice of burning off that prevented the brush taking over. The mountain cattlemen followed the aboriginals practice of burning off and also reintroduced megafauna [cattle] . For 170 years the high country was healthy and preserved . Take away the cattleman , the cattle , and regular burning and the brush takes over . Parts of the high country which was trees and grass is now so choked with brush that you cant force a horse through it . This understory will result in 'hot' bush fires which will be far more damaging than any percieved damage from the modern megafauna . The green driven exclusion of cattlemen is ideologically driven , not ecologically driven .
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Follow Up By: Justin - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 14:23

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 14:23
Firstly, i would have to say I agree with Petrosaus (speeling?) comments below, including the bit about Megafauna being found on the plains, not highland areas.

And secondly: There is in fact surprisingly little evidence to indicate that the Aboriginal people were responsible for wiping out the Mega Fauna. They were already in decline long before people came along, many were already extinct.

In fact, in the majority of cases people were not responsible for the extinction of any mega fauna on any continent. Islands (smaller than Oz) are a different story. But yes, people may speed the extinction process up.

Think: Why does Africa, arguably the birth place of Humanity, have so many large animals, and it has only been the advent of Western technologies and cultures that lead to their demise??

Personally, I would rather the highland areas be protected in anyway possible. I have a 4wd because it is a good way to get to special places like the highlands, but if 4wds were banned from these areas (presumably and hopefully because of enviro impact), I would simply look for another, less damaging way of getting there. I would rather spend 10 days, freezing cold, soaking wet and cursing walking through a highland envrionment, carrying my own gear, than driving through a degraded forrest in my 4wd....

As for earlier comments on People changing the environment and it being a natural thing - Yes this is true. The problem is, that in too many cases we don't actually know what we are loosing. Once you loose a ecosytem, it is usually impossible to recreate it. - Tough luck if that ecosystem happened do something very important like filter our drinking water, give us air to breathe or contain the cure for cancer....
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Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 08:40

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 08:40
Well it WAS good having the high country to visit, besides the very high probabilitiy that PEOPLE, in any form of transprot will be banned in future, (so we cant see the ferrel pest plants getting out of hand) the next time there is a fire the whole lot will go as there will be so much undergrowth there in about 3 years time, it will be unstoppable, and you thought the last fires were bad !!
Thought vic parks would have learnt there lesson about having controlled ground fuel reduction, cant see why the cattle cant be used to advantage!
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Reply By: hound - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:07

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:07
They don’t want any of us up their, its as simple as that. The only good thing is that, it will get to a stage that so many people arebleepoff and being affected by all this crap, they will get dumped on their arse at the next election or at least lose allot of seats.
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Follow Up By: hound - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:47

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:47
Anyone heard the insulting radio add the Government is now playing on radio about how good it is that the cattle have been banned.

Funny that an add came out so fast, just shows that the decision was already made.

100 or so years of our heritage down the drain. The bush will soon look like it does in areas that cattle aren’t, weed infested and overgrown.
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Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:36

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:36
"The bush will soon look like it does in areas that cattle aren’t, weed infested and overgrown. ".........

???????? so what was going on for the last million or so years before the cattle ?
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Reply By: Pterosaur - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 10:08

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 10:08
SOME FACTS
1. alpine vegetation in Australia evolved in the ABSENCE of fire - it is this characteristic which gives it its unique characteristics.
2. The burning and grazing practices employed in the high country have resulted in many areas in a phenomenon known as "genetic drift" where the mix of species gradually alters, (due to selective grazing, intolerance of fire), from herbs and other palatable (but fire-sensitive) species to "woody weeds" which provide less grazing opportunities and increased fire susceptibility in the subject areas.
3. Alpine landscape and vegetation also evolved in the ABSENCE of hard footed grazers - the introduction of such beasts to these has resulted in increased erosion and realignment of watercourses - this effect is not confined to the high country however, and can be readily observed by anyone with the sense to look.
4. Recovery from such impacts in alpine areas is very slow, or does not occur - an example is the destruction of many of the Pencil Pine forest communities on the Central Plateau of Tasmania through the (ignorant) use of fire to create "green pick".
There is (as far as I am aware) no evidence to support the idea that the original aussies regularly burnt off such areas at the high frequencies used by the alpine graziers.
5. It is nonsense to suggest that the period of greatest ecological change in Oz's high country (the last 170 years), "the high country was healthy and preserved" due to the actions of the graziers. What do you think was going on for the previous 30 - 40k years ? BTW the megafauna which existed in Oz were inhabitants of the savannah lands, not the alpine areas.
6. The impacts of ski resorts and roading are significant, and deserve consideration in the management of their effects.
7. "Clancy of the Overflow" is a LEGEND, a MYTH, (and a brilliant poem) but hardly provides a framework for the sustainable management of alpine areas.

OPINIONS

1. Destruction of of one's surroundings (environment) - which used to be known as " bleep ting in your own nest" , doesn't look like progress to me. Or perhaps we should continue to emulate the other great civilisations which have destroyed themselves by doing so - in the name of "progress" ?
2. I reckon people such as Paddy Pallin have done a lot more to popularise the high country (and Australia's wilderness) than all the mountain cattlemen put together.
3. Reckon I don't have a right to express my opinions ? - at least I know what I'm talking about -I have a degree in Biology, have worked in management of such areas for many years, fought more fires than most, lived and worked in the bush for many years, and pushed (thousands) more beasts through the crush than there are users of this forum, and YES, I like to use my 4wd to travel to areas which are otherwise very difficult or expensive to visit.
4. There is a lot of fuss being made about the "tradition" of high country grazing - is it coincidental that many of those making such arguments are the same people who are so outraged by the idea that the original inhabitants' traditional uses and ownership of the country be acknowledged ?

I must say, that in a topic such as this, where so much anger and viciousness surfaces "Let's shoot the Politicians, gas the Greenies and hang the Politically Correct." that I am appalled at the levels of argument used, and the general ignorance of ecological (and political) processes displayed by many. Such rabid "anti greenie" responses, lacking both factual and logical bases reflect poorly on their proponents, and further confirm my decision to continue as a "lurker" rather than take up membership.

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Follow Up By: Member - Paul J (ACT) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 10:41

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 10:41
Geez, you could write an essay on it!
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Follow Up By: Frank_Troopy - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 15:28

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 15:28
Thanks Pterosaur,

I'm relieved that someone can express an intelligent and informed comment on this topic to balance the emotionally charged venom.

The CSIRO has studied the high country ecology and the impact of the cattle and has published its findings. Repeatedly posting arguments that contradict the science is just plain dumb. At least the CSIRO has been spared from the hit list!

I have seen so many tracks torn apart by thoughtless 4WDers who seem to regard a boggy mud patch as a challenge to their vehicle and their prowess, rather than a reason to turn back. Just look at what folks are doing to their cars; lifted bodies and huge mud tyres are becoming more commonplace and are leaving ruts that become impassable to non-modified vehicles and require costly maintenance for cash strapped councils.

The ban of the cattle men should be seen as notice that more and more, our impact on the environment will not go unnoticed. If 4WDs get banned from areas it is important that we are honest with ourselves about the reasons and not just fling blame at others.

The challenge that we all share as 4WDers is to get about this fantastic country in a way that leaves everything as we find it. Get the tyre pressures down, find the best path and use finesse and judgement and turn back if you think you'll do damage.

If we do no damage and stay in the motels and caravan parks, eat in the restaurants and shops, drink in the pubs; in other words bring money to the region, we'll always be welcome. If it costs more to repair our damage than we bring to the local economy we're in trouble.

Cool debate. Let's keep it real.

Cheers Frank.
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul J (ACT) - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 09:06

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 09:06
If we do no damage and stay in the motels and caravan parks, eat in the restaurants and shops, drink in the pubs.............................................

I dont want to stay in a motel, i want to stay in my camper.
I dont want to stay in a caravan park, unless i really really have to.
I dont want to eat in a restaurant, i want to eat around a fire.
I dont want to drink in a pub.....Sorry your right on that one, good point, but id prefer drinking around the fire.
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Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 09:49

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 09:49
G'day Paul,

1. Written a few over the years
2. me too

thanks for the positive contribution Frank (Troopies Rule !!)

cheers Terry
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Reply By: ROTORD - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 10:44

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 10:44
'Alpine areas developed in the absence of fire' . How did they do that - ban lightning strikes .
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Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:44

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:44
No - just too wet to burn readily.
This can be verified by checking the (plant) species composition.
Alpine communities are distinct (like rainforest) in that they are largely composed of fire susceptible species which do not tolerate fire (ie do not regenerate well, or at all following a fire).

This is quite a different ecosystem to the eucalypt forests found lower, where the communities are often (usually) fire dependent, and capable of regeneration after fire.
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Reply By: Scubaroo - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 11:33

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 11:33
Sad to see that so many of Australia's "outdoors" people don't give a rat's arse about the environment, as long as it's there for them to use up and enjoy today.

What ever happened to the "tread lightly" campaign, or is that just more greenie bullbleepin your eyes?

Apparently it's unknown to most of you for someone to be both an outdoors enthusiast and environmentally conscious. I can see cattle on my old man's farm - if I'm taking a trip to the high country, I want to see roos and black cockatoos thanks.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:07

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:07
What ever happened to the "tread lightly" campaign, or is that just more greenie bullbleepin your eyes?

Gee, tread lightly then, you should go and shoot every cow on your dads farm, they are damaging the paddocks. While your driving out to dads farm, shoot every single animal you see, they are damaging the grass as well.
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Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:39

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:39
No need to shoot the cattle - the dog attacks have let up lately.

You have to admit there's a bit of a difference between farmland that's been intensively farmed for over a century, converted to crops & pasture with introduced grasses, weeds etc with the only remnant vegetation a few stands of ironbark, and a national park with a relatively intact ecosystem of indigenous species.

Now if only I could get the old man to run biodeisel in the International...
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Follow Up By: Member - Crazie (VIC) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:56

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:56
This is not about us the 4wd uses of this area, not sure why you connect us the outdoors people to the cattlemen of this area. It is about them using this country not us. It maybe us who are next banned from here and that will include you who will not see the animals unless you are in the zoo...
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Reply By: Member - Bernard - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:59

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 12:59
Very few people, and certainly not me, are proposing irresponsible use of the world or it's resources. But, things do change -- the environment is totally different to what it was 500, 200, or even 100 years ago. And it wil;l be totally different in 100, 200 or 500 years time.

Unrealistically and artificially preserving things is not a sound answer. And this is probably compounded when people with "learned degrees" in Biology, Biodiversity, or the Arts, propound to be exoperts. My degrees, educational standards, or professional experience won't and shouldn't be used top prop up specious arguments.
Learned scientists get it wrong on too many occasions. Look at Copernicus, Galileo, and the medical experts who denied hygene and the existence of various germs and infections.

Let's all enjoy without blocking or even thinking about blocking the equal rights of other inhabitants of this planet to use and enjoy it -- especially as they are well in the majority.

Bernard
(Who enjoys and respects most thing, but not erroneously so)
AnswerID: 112785

Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 23:19

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 23:19
Hope you weren't referring to me, Bernard - don't ever recall propounding myself as an "exopert" nor even an expert. Just know the subject matter that I address - based upon practical experience, observation and formal learning and developed over many years.

Everyone gets it wrong from time to time, but so what ? Doesn't provide a valid basis to generalise from that statement to condemenation of scientific effort or training - which you seem to be ambivalent about - it's good as long as you agree, or it doesn't inconvenience you, otherwise it is to be treated with abuse and denial ?

As for specious arguments - who's making them ? Not I. However, I have seen little of substance in your posts on this matter, unless you count your statements (on killing those you don't agree with) as being a valid and supportable proposition.

You should be more careful when you choose to criticise people rather than their arguments - or are you an "exopert" at that ?
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Reply By: figtree - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:35

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:35
I am affraid there is too many arguments in this thread that can be regarded as equal to the arguments in the threads titled "ban 4wd from cities".... there is too much of anger and fear and too litle facts.

I agree that the world is changing and the species will/have been disappearing, but... let's not kill it all off unnecessarily. There is a big difference between an owl killing possums to survive and humans- in particular GREEDY individuals- that are ready to sacrifice the NATURAL environment for a few more dollars in their pockets -and what is left behind afterwards, who cares!

The problem with human influence is that we are too powerful and can change the environment too fast, faster than in can react to these changes. This has been hapenning intensively for a couple of hundred of years now and, yes, we did reach a new-ever changing-equilibrium. The only problem is, the environment in this equilibrium is NOT what the humans (and most other species) need and want. Just look around: there is that never ending cry heard about drought, invading weeds and pests, erosions etc etc. Putting our heads in the sand and pretending everything is right, is no longer an option. We have changed too much of the environment not to feel the effects of this in our everyday's life -water restrictions come to mind...

Cattle grazing in the Alps- of course there are always two sides of the coin. HOwever, one has to look at a broader picture and see what is more important. HOw much less cattle we will have to consume if we ban this grazing and how much would environment gain? What effect would this have on our water resources? Will preserving the Alpine areas improve the farming and by how much? THe "human cost" will be involved here: some people may need to change their job. But then again, this HAS BEEN hapenning to all of us, especially in the last 10 years. Is there a group that should be ragarded as special, and if so, WHY? Aren't we all equal?

I think that much of the land of this country has been irreversibly changed and I really, really do not find that kind of environment too attractive . i.e. cows grazing in the paddocks saying moooo. There is comparably very little of the country left that still has some chance of maintaining its natural state and that's where I like to be and that's where I want to be able to travel, walk, relax. If we take this away, just because some people think they have some "hystoric" right to ruin it, there is no use of having a 4WD, I can take a bus to the cow paddocks. I can hear someone saying that grazing is not ruining the country; for these people I can just say go there and see by yourselves.

About the fear that bannig the cows from ALpine areas will result in banning 4WD also, I think this is an unfunded FEAR. Yes, 4WD's are likely to be banned if even a handfull of drivers behave irresponsibly, especially in the current situation of scare campain against 4WD. This would not be fair to the responsible majority, but let's find a better solution and push for it. This is a chance to show that 4WD-ers are not irresponsible selfish mob that the press is trying to frame us as.

Anyway, this is my point of view. I may be wrong in some aspects and if you happen to know FACTS that would prove me wrong, I am happy to hear them. HOwever, PLEASE do not start a heated unreasonable argument, it leads nowhere.

Joseph
AnswerID: 112793

Follow Up By: Member - Bernard - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:53

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:53
Joseph,

You're completely right that each is entitled to his (or her) own opinion.

Just despair at ever getting "balanced thinking" from pollies, greenies et al.

Love your use of "hystoric" -- great word -- is it copyright or can we all use it in the same context?

Regards,

Bernard
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FollowupID: 368957

Reply By: hound - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 16:25

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 16:25
How do we know that the cattle are damaging the high country. I don't know too many people aged around 170 which is how long the cattle have been grazing in the high country. Just because the Government says so doesn’t make to true!
AnswerID: 112818

Follow Up By: figtree - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 17:41

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 17:41
g'day hound,

One doesn't need to compare it to what it used to be 170 years ago: it is enough to see what effect the cattle has on the CURRENT environment there. If there is significant damage done, then some measures need to be taken....

JOseph
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FollowupID: 368999

Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:34

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:34
It's pretty easy - check out comparable areas where:-

(a) there's been no (or little) grazing pressure. (for whatever period you are testing for)
(b) plenty of grazing pressure (same period)

then - record species composition, community structures, soil profiles etc., and draw conclusions from your results.

Old records are also useful - for instance in Tas. near the Great Lake, old records speak of plains "where the grass obscured the horses' bellies, while the same areas today suffer from loss of about 200mm. of topsoil, and the predominant vegetation is woody shrubs (which burn a lot hotter than the previous grasslands).

Not to say that cattle and sheep are (or have been) the only problems - rabbits have had more than a bit of a role to play in degrading our places.
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FollowupID: 369067

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 10:29

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 10:29
in the last 4 yrs Ive been going up there, lookin at photos from each trip, I see no real damage that could be accredited to any one thing..

but I suppose if you look at photos of 30 yrs ago, you will see there is no hut up at Craigs either.
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FollowupID: 369132

Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 15:10

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 15:10
that's part of the trouble Truckster - incremental change is hard, if not impossible to spot, that's the reason to take measurements, or have photos or records which can give a basis for "before" & "after".

Just like anything else, though, when you've been in the game a while though, there are signs and indicators which can provide a pretty good idea of what's happening, just like a good mechanic (which I'm not !!) is often able to suss out misbehaving engines without pulling them down first.

I don't know about the hut (never even been near it ! :-))- seen others though, & used them too, and have found that it's generally more comfortable camping in a tent. One thing I have noticed about many huts is that they seem to become a magnet for all sorts of junk, which apart from being a mess, further threatens access for those willing to take the extra steps to minimise their impacts.

There's still a few "trappers huts" in Tas. highlands, some of which have been restored, most only accessible on foot though !
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FollowupID: 369180

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 17:16

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 17:16
Canberra moves to head off cattlemen ban
May 25, 2005 - 1:20PM

The federal government will try to stop the Victorian government's ban on grazing in the state's alpine national park, a senior government source says.

The government source, who asked not to be named, confirmed federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell was expected to issue an emergency heritage listing for the mountain cattleman's 170-year-old tradition after meeting them tomorrow in Canberra.

A listing would allow grazing to continue in recognition of its social and cultural heritage value.

The federal government could face a lengthy legal battle - that could potentially go all the way to the High Court - if Victoria challenged its right to intervene.

The Victorian government announced yesterday the ban would come into effect after current grazing licences expire, although cattle would still be allowed to forage elsewhere in the high country - in state forest outside the national park.

Mountain cattlemen say the decision will mean the end of a cherished Australian tradition, while the government says a ban is necessary to protect the environment.

Meanwhile, federal member for Gippsland Peter McGauran, whose eastern Victorian electorate covers the affected high country, said the government was now considering imposing the emergency listing although he stopped short of pre-empting any decision by Mr Campbell.

"The prime minister... has made strongly supportive comments on the heritage values of alpine grazing and the government is seriously considering emergency listing on the national heritage for the alpine park including grazing," Mr McGauran told AAP.

Mr McGauran said any such listing - under national heritage legislation introduced in 2004 - would overrule the state's decision.

"The question is: 'will Victoria take it lying down'?"

The Victorian government yesterday said the ban was necessary to protect the sensitive alpine ecosystems from trampling herds of cattle and would bring the Victorian alps into line with the ACT and NSW which banned cattle decades ago.

But Mr McGauran said the any in Victoria would have far greater impact than the previous bans interstate because the bulk of alpine grazing had always occurred in Victoria.

Alpine grazing was "not the environmental catastrophe that the Bracks government states", he said.

"The federal government believes you can't look at one aspect of the environmental issues.

"You have to take into account the context given that only 10 per cent of the park is available for grazing and other values including social and cultural heritage.

As well, the state government had overlooked then "paramount" heritage values of mountain cattlemen's way of life, he said.

"Drovers and mountain cattlemen have largely influenced the way Australians see themselves today.

"Australia may be among the most urbanised countries in the world but most people have a great respect and affection for farmers and mountain cattlemen.

"The mountain cattlemen embody the rugged individualism and self-reliance which underpin many of Australia's contemporary values."

Senator Campbell was out of phone contact, but his spokeswoman confirmed he was considering the implications of an emergency listing.

Victorian Environment Minister John Thwaites is expected to hold a door stop later today.

- AAP
AnswerID: 112829

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:34

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:34
If this ends up with civil war I'll be fighting with the Feds.
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FollowupID: 369068

Reply By: GOB & denny vic member - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 19:45

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 19:45
the worst part is they will let the dept of stupidity and entertainment loose with there UN controlled burns so we are still up the creek as they do more damage than a few cows

steve
AnswerID: 112859

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 21:54

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 21:54
What! You mean to say their burns haven't been banned after the Prom debacle!
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FollowupID: 369049

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:01

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:01
Not yet! I'll ask, Ive applied for a job there LMAO
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FollowupID: 369053

Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:29

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 22:29
oh good, you'll get the keys then.
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FollowupID: 369062

Reply By: hound - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 11:02

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 11:02
The logic most of the people use against cattle would mean the we should all revert back to the cavemen, take down all our cities, remove all the roads, bridges, harbours etc.

People get real, everyone and everything impacts the environment and it has been like this forever. The way some people carry one you would think that the areas the cattle graze a barren wastelands, are they NO.
AnswerID: 112971

Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 11:06

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 11:06
"everyone and everything impacts the environment and it has been like this forever"

What, so steps can't be taken to lessen the impact?
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FollowupID: 369139

Follow Up By: Member - Paul J (ACT) - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 12:05

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 12:05
Scubaroo,
What, so steps can't be taken to lessen the impact?

Maybe you can take the 1st step and level your house and plant wild fauna, i think hound's post pretty well sums it up, dont you?
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FollowupID: 369151

Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 13:49

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 13:49
I don't understand why people continue to post personal attacks or be so confrontational in response to this issue.

It's just that quite a few users here are posting fatalistic views like "oh well it's going to get buggered eventually, might as well enjoy it while it lasts". Few people seem to have the mindset of "lets take some steps to conserve this resource". It *is* a national park being discussed.

For the record I have a farming background and my father is still on the land, raising cattle, so don't think I'm some city-slicker who's giving their airy-fairy opinion from afar. I sympathise with the mountain cattlemen's plight and the loss of grazing land (there's a drought on, cattle have to eat), and the disappearance of a lifestyle, but booting them out of an alpine NATIONAL PARK in the grand scheme of things isn't necessarily a bad thing, ESPECIALLY when the government has indicated that they will still have access to state parks in the region.

History does pass - we used to be a nation of convicts, no-one laments the loss of that dearly-held cultural history. We used to be a whaling nation too - few people in Aust today would lament the loss of that cultural resource of the whaling tradition, but at the time it was probably a sad day when the last whale was landed and someone said "well that's it". I reckon bushrangers have their place in our cultural history too - bugger, none of them left either. Cattle production in this country isn't going anywhere, but for the sake of a thousand head or two out of the couple of million in the country... give the bush a break.

I'm just conveying a point of view, would be nice to be able to do it without getting the dogs set on me.
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FollowupID: 369168

Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 15:41

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 15:41
Can't agree Hound, the logic implies nothing like your postulation that

"would mean the we should all revert back to the cavemen, take down all our cities, remove all the roads, bridges, harbours etc."

The point I am making are that, where adverse impacts are created by our use and enjoyment of a resource, that threaten the nature of the resource, then it's only common sense to act to minimise the adverse impacts our activities are having. "Sometimes ya gotta stop, others just take care."

If we don't learn this fact (my bit about " bleep ting in your nest"), then I'm sure that Big Brudder WILL ban those activities.

The cattlemen have had a good run, but their activities DO degrade alpine areas, honour them for it if you like, but do the financial interests of a few private individuals, making money from a public resource outweigh the interests of all those who value our natural areas for what they are ?

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FollowupID: 369183

Reply By: hound - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 14:36

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 14:36
Scubaroo,

Firstly the cattle aren’t doing that much damage, I've been going up there for 15 years and the areas are still grassy, things still grow, animals still live there. Walk off the tracks and you will see what the bush looks like without cows, full of blackberries and other weeds and fallen canopy.

As for some of the other comments, The state forests are overgrown, un-maintained and mostly not suitable for cattle grazing let alone anything, Whaling was only stopped because the oil wasn't needed anymore and for no other reason, we have never been a nation of convicts (theirs always been more free people than criminals in jails even in 1800's), bushrangers still exist we just call them different names - bank robbers - car thief’s – muggers etc.

We are fast becoming a nation of banning is the solution to everything, what’s next banning hiking boots because they damage the grass????
AnswerID: 113012

Follow Up By: Pterosaur - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 15:20

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 15:20
Maybe if we stopped going into denial every time a potential threat or criticism arises, stopped to look around, and took some responsibility for OUR OWN actions, then this banning stuff wouldn't be necessary.

I've walked off a lot of tracks (sometimes for 2-3 weeks), and I can assure you that the bush can manage quite well without cattle and human impacts.

Good to see you acknowledge that the cattle ARE doing damage, even if you think its not that much - think about it a bit.
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FollowupID: 369182

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