The fires of 2019/20 burnt huge areas of north eastern Victoria. The remaining unburnt forests are more important than ever. One of these areas lies in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, just south of Mt Hotham. It is a pristine area, without roads, and containing mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash. It is an area of state forest that lies right next to the Alpine National Park.
The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest in the upper Little Dargo River, probably starting in the spring of 2022 once the roads are opened after winter. These coupes are located in a series of clusters, where separate sections of bush will be harvested, creating a large zone of cleared land over time. Extensive roading networks will be needed to access the coupes.
Despite a strong community campaign, as of September 2022, the coupes remain on the VicForests Timber Release Plan, meaning they could be scheduled for logging at any moment. We do, however note that the planned logging road through the Alpine National Park has now been removed from the plan.
One coupe has already been logged. The remaining coupes have not yet been scheduled for harvesting. There is still time to stop this ecological disaster – if we act now.
As we point out in this post, the Dargo is a pristine area that needs to be protected.
On April 24, Friends of the Earth organised a community walk to visit the upper Little Dargo so people could see for themselves how special this place is, and why it needs to be protected.
We were hosted by Christa Treasure and Ray Anderson, who explained the historical significance of the area. A small group made it all the way to Fred’s Flat, a gorgeous section of open plain by the Little Dargo River. This was the first group to walk into the upper catchment since the early 1900s and showed just how precious this place is: unroaded, intact and unburnt. Our aim is to keep it that way.
There is a set of images from the day available here.
Scroll down for images.
Update September 2022
September 2022. According to the VicForests Timber Release Plan (TRP), the coupes in the Little Dargo are still available for logging. The map above shows the cluster of coupes in the headwaters (marked by black lines) and the planned logging access roads. The pink shaded area in the right of the map is the Alpine national park, clearly showing that logging will occur up to the park boundary. The proposed logging access road, which would have cutr through the national park, has now been removed from the TRP.
Speak up and help protect the Upper Little Dargo
This area will be devastated if VicForests is allowed to log the headwaters.
The area has been placed on the Timber Release Plan but not yet scheduled for logging. There is time to stop this from happening.
1/ Let your friends know
If you joined the walk, please share images with your friends, networks and family and send them this link. And encourage them to call the minister.
2/ Tell the minister to protect the Little Dargo
All 11 coupes in the Little Dargo catchment should be removed from the Timber Release Plan (TRP). This rare, mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash, in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, must protected. Alpine Ash ecosystems have suffered greatly due to recurring fire in the high country. This is a particularly special, undisturbed bush – currently without any roading – that is greatly valued by local high country people.
These are the coupe numbers.
Please email the environment minister, the Hon Lily D’Ambrosio, and urge her to protect the Little Dargo River by cancelling all coupes.
Or call the Environment Minister’s office on 03 9637 9504 and leave a polite message about the need to protect the Little Dargo river from logging.
3/ tell your story on social media
Share your images from the area, or use some of ours, and post on any social media platform with a simple message, and tag in the following:
Please #SaveLittleDargoRiver - Too precious to log. An unburnt gem in the Victorian high country.
Or retweet this one.
4/ support our work
If you like what we are doing, please consider supporting us with a donation (tax deductible donations can be made here).
Even better, consider becoming a member of Friends of the Earth here.
Thanks to everyone who attended the walk and Sasha King for many of these images.
Above: Fred's Flat on the Little Dargo River.
Above: briefing session for the walk.
Above: Christa Treasure.
Above: Christa and Ray describing some of the Treasure family history of the Little Dargo.
Above: the main group heads off.
In one of the planned logging areas.
Above: this logged area is just below the planned coupes in the Upper Little Dargo.