President’s Piece

Welcome to our Petyan edition of our newsletter, and apologies for the late arrival. In fact it feels as if summer is already here and the Grampians, like most of the Wimmera, are scarily dry and the flower season is almost over already.

I hope you all have already sent back the questionnaire we sent by snailmail to get some feedback to help with planning activities. Of course you can also email your thoughts to Wendy or myself.

FOGG has been in existence for 30 years now and quite a few of our members have been with us for much of that time. It is vital that we ensure that we remain relevant to both our longterm members and newcomers. Those of you who get this by post will find a membership form attached. Please use it to recruit someone new to join us.

Actually activities are only part of what FOGG is about. Our Park needs Friends in so many areas. We continue to advocate on behalf of the Park, we give feedback to management, we have sought to educate the public. But there are always new challenges and new opportunities.

As you will read in the report on our AGM, over the last year we have been concerned about quite a few moves which we believe are detrimental to our Park, such as aspects of the Long Distance Walk particularly the possibility of commercial lodges, and we made extensive submissions to the draft plan. The final plan is due any time, probably as an election announcement. Unfortunately both parties in Victoria have said very little positive about environmental policies and we need to get some discussion going.

It is particularly troubling that our Park, and all parks, are so short of funds. Groups like ours are being asked to apply for funds for things PV should be able to fund, such as Zumsteins restoration and Heatherlie interpretation. I suspect that grant writing will be a core role of our group for some years.

It is very encouraging that quite a few of our members give us donations in addition to the membership fee. This has enabled us to support students doing important research in our Park. Thanks to the solid work of local staff Mike Stevens and Ryan Duffy co-operation between the Park and universities is so much better than a few years ago. I see our support for this, both monetary and by publicising it, as one of the most important things we can do for our Park.

Through the Advisory Group we have been looking at some way a tax deductible fund could be set up to support projects in the Park, but it’s far from easy. In the meantime we will continue to use our FOGG funds where we can.

Finally, a big welcome to Caity O’Reilly who has taken over from Catherine Dyson as volunteer co-ordinator. Having this position is so good for both other park staff and for volunteers.