From the RIC’s Desk

There is plenty of activity occurring around the park at the moment as we move beyond the shortest day of the year and start the climb towards Spring.  The team has been extremely busy undertaking our routine and not so routine tasks, which continues to challenge our resources and our ability to adequately forward plan. In saying this, the achievements of the team is outstanding when you consider what has been thrown our way this year, on the back of many challenging years.

For the Environment & Heritage team, the key interest has been around planning for the next phase of the Grampians Ark program, our landscape scale predatory control program and ensuring we are being really clear and concise about we are hoping to achieve over the next 3 years. We are hopeful that this initiative will be fully funded by DEPI for that period, and therefore we are planning accordingly. The Indigenous Heritage component of the program is focusing on the fire affected area and assessing the impacts, new finds and future management of these sites with the most contemporary advice and involvement from the cultural heritage industry and Traditional owners.

The Visitor & Community Team are extremely busy implementing a significant redesign of many of our campgrounds in response to the new on-line booking system and fee structure. The Parkstay system will allow visitors to the Grampians National Park for the first time to book a camp site in the Park. This is a good thing as it will assist in managing the capacity within our camping areas and ensure the experience isn’t compromised by overcrowding and impacts. The challenge will be to monitor the impacts of Bush camping within the Park, where fees do not apply until the end of 2015.

At a broader scale, Fire Recovery and the Grampians Peaks Trail Draft Master Plan has kept us busy and will continue to influence what and how we do things into the future.  A significant milestone for the Park has been the recruitment of a new Advisory Group. The 15 person group aim to represent a range of views and provide strategic and operation advice to Parks Victoria on a range of topics. The new group which commenced on the 25th June, has a make up of 5 returning members and 10 newly appointed members. I look forward to working with this group and getting them involved in the range of complex issues we face to ensure we seek the best and most relevant views we can.

Dave Roberts