The first quarter of the year tends to be quiet as far as FOGG meetings are concerned.
But on the two occasions we have got together we found plenty to talk about as you will read in the two activity reports. And Wendy and I have been attending Round Table and Advisory Group meetings, as you will see in our reports.
And of course plenty has been happening in the wider scene. The new state government has just announced changes to the controversial camping fees introduced by the previous government, and made some good decisions for the Alpine National Park and Pt Nepean. But whether our parks system will get any improvement to its budget, and what will happen to the plan to open up our parks to commercial development is yet to be seen. In the meanwhile no proposals for development inside our park have been put forward.
This time last year I reported on the study into Victorian Public Lands which several of us had participated in. Their report has now been published and can be found on the web at http://www.landscapemap2.org/publications/StatewidePVreport2014.pdf
The report makes quite interesting reading, as much sociologically as the findings which in general are quite encouraging. Who participated, where they lived, how old were they, what income was all investigated to try to ensure that the results were a valid reflection of the Victorian public.
Locally the big news for our Park has been the retirement of Graham Parkes. Of recent years Graham has been District Manager for South West Victoria, covering the Grampians as well as all the other regional parks (Little Desert, Mt Eccles, Lower Glenelg). Before that of course he was for many years Ranger in Charge of the Grampians National Park, after stints at several other parks. 42 years in all. There is a generous tribute to him in the current VNPA publication “Park Watch” – “always willing to listen to community concerns, and one of Victoria’s most respected park managers, his knowledge and experience will be hard to replace.” Those of us who know him closely certainly appreciate how passionate he has been for our park in both his roles and we wish him well in his retirement. I will be attending a farewell for him on April 30.