DSE Victoria - Small Step in the right direction.

Submitted: Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 09:17
ThreadID: 76038 Views:3457 Replies:7 FollowUps:3
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As a direct result of a post here late last year I heard about track closures in NE
Vic and this resulted in attendance at a meeting held in the bush near Mt Disappointment SF this Saturday morning between 3 DSE officials and a dozen or so interested parties.

Much discussion, some of it with real feeling, took place about various access issues and I won't go into that.

The real intention seemed to be to review the closures with a view to testing whether ways around some of the issues could be found that left both the DSE with less management issues and some of the tracks left open.

Some interesting statements were made - for example , driving thru a river does not always cause water quality issues and under some conditions can improve the river.

Much discussion took place around pictures of a bog holed track and whether or not it could be saved.
We then drove up to this track only to find that it had all been bulldozed and "Rehabilitated".

This was a bit embarrassing, and showed that this initiative is new to DSE as well as the public and many communications issues will need to be overcome if any real departmental culture change is to take place.

After several tiring hours of standing discussions we got round to specific tracks.

The DSE seemed keen to go beyond talk and get some real actions points.

Some people had left by now, and I was able to specifically nominate two tracks "Snobs 5 & 6" of concern to me and an undertaking of a re-view, possibly on-site, was given.

Other tracks in which their were habitat concerns etc would not be open for re-view.

What encouraged me was that the DSE put forward the suggestion the some duplicated track sections could have the duplication removed and the main track actually modified to make it a more challenging 4wd track.

I.E. Potentially a win / win situation.

It took me a little while to grasp what was being said here but I liked it.

Its a long way from a discussion in the bush to action but this is the first real sign of direct contact to the public (as opposed to bodies like 4wd vic) that I have seen and I appreciate the time and efforts of the DSE personal.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - John & Sally W (NSW) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 09:29

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 09:29
Hi Robin,
Thankyou for making the effort and taking the time to attend the meeting. It is difficult for most of us to get to these places for these discussions. It's good to see that some governmental departments actually take the time to talk and listen to the little people sometimes.
AnswerID: 404279

Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 10:44

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 10:44
Good one Robin. Sounds productive all round.
AnswerID: 404293

Reply By: OzTroopy - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 11:31

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 11:31
Stick a feather in your cap Robin, for participating ...

Its interesting to note how some Vict govt depts do seem to be more in touch with reality than other states .... Not saying this is the case ALL the time of course ...
AnswerID: 404299

Reply By: Member - John - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 13:48

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 13:48
Robin, thank you greatly for attending and putting your point across, which I imagine reflects what the majority on this forum would have said.

Couldn't have made it even if I had known about the meeting. Maybe a little better publicity may make a difference, if they use the same format again, get more people there.

Then again, that may be counter productive....................

Once again, thank you. John

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AnswerID: 404308

Reply By: pdm3006 - Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:44

Monday, Feb 15, 2010 at 21:44
Great stuff Robin.
Had I known I would have attended the meeting also.
Do you know if there will be follow-up meetings ?
Regarding Snobs #5 track which I am familiar with, I have no idea why it is seasonally closed.
It's certainly not steep, doesn't cross any rivers as they all have bridges, and the area is logged to death with big logging trucks tearing up the tracks all the time anyway.
Some seasonal closures make sense. Others make no sense at all. For example why is Dingo Track in Eildon NP now permanently closed ?
I'd like to see better public interaction regarding seasonal road closures.
AnswerID: 404364

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 07:47

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 07:47
Hi Peter

Many people , did not know , even inside the department.

Last night at 5pm was the last chance to comment on our new camping regulations as well , may post about that - gotta be on your toes with all these government papers etc , I reckon you could spend that much time trying to find them all that you would never get out to camp.

On snobs - from the DSE website

Murrindindi Rubicon State Forest No 5 Track Permanent Closure This track serves no operational purpose. It was identified as a high priority for closure following a road and water quality survey. The track is badly eroded causing water quality concerns for the Rubicon River and Whisky Creek.

Murrindindi Rubicon State Forest Snobs No 6 track Permanent Closure This track poses a risk to public safety. The track has large rock bars resulting in erosion issues. This track serves no operational purpose.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: pdm3006 - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 09:11

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 09:11
Funny how short the DSE memory is.
I am sure No5 track was used for fire crews during the Black Saturday fires - no operational purpose !?
And I can tell you I was there only a few weeks back and there were logging trucks using it which surprised me as I was expecting them to only use Royston River Track. In fact they are logging the intersection of No5 Track and Royston Range Track right now.
This is ludicrous. How can we the public have our concerns at least registered and it would be even better if they would take them into account in the decision making process.
Another example, in Eildon NP, there is a helicopter landing pad just off Taylors Creek Track which has now been "temporarily closed" for nearly a year. After that landing pad, the DSE bulldozed a deep trench and piled up rocks to ensure nobody could 4WD past it, then there was a permanent track closure gate, then trees felled across the track every 100m. All this to stop access to Dingo Track and Brians Track.
During the Black Saturday fires, they had to hastily remove the trench and remove all the felled trees to allow access by CFA fire crews. How long did that delay them I wonder ???
AnswerID: 404388

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 10:18

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 10:18
Hi Peter

It would be good to try and firm up on any knowledge you have of those two tracks.

I expect that the DSE process is genuine and that in the short term , a meeting , maybe on site and hopefully with ranger for that area will be held.

Anything that contributes to an understanding of the area would be helpful.

If anything does develop I will try to let you know - perhaps send me an email.

Its also possible I will get a call saying "get lost", politely of course.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Andrew & Jen - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:13

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 13:13
Hullo Robin
Thanks for alerting me to this request for comment
I sent the following email to DSE this morning.

Dear Sir
I have quickly read the draft proposed regs re use of State Forests.
I do not have any serious issues with most of what has been written with respect to camping.
However, it does seem somewhat impractical and counterproductive to apply the same requirements for the siting of a portable toilet facility that provides for the storage and removal of human waste as those applying to the burial of same in the ground.

Pt2 8 (4) If a person is camping in any State forest or occupying or using a recreation ground in any
State forest and the person has brought in portable toilet facilities, the person must ensure that the
portable toilet facilities are situated more than 100 metres from any alpine bog, dam, bore or waterway.

I would have thought that the use of portable toilets would be encouraged and that their siting adjacent to camp sites >20m from water courses, etc would be a sensible move. Presumably this requirement will not apply to those facilities housed within a vehicle or van!

AnswerID: 404416

Follow Up By: Andrew & Jen - Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 14:43

Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010 at 14:43
Meant this to go into thread 76057 "New Vic camping regs"
FollowupID: 674108

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