Fish Falls Walking Track Reopens for the June Long Weekend
In a significant milestone for the Grampians Flood Recovery Program, Parks Victoria advises that the MacKenzie River Walk between Zumsteins Picnic Area and Fish Falls has re-opened. This walk sustained extensive damage during the January 2011 floods that impacted the Grampians region. Works have been completed along the entire length of the track to reduce ongoing maintenance and improve the experience for visitors.
While the restoration of Zumsteins Picnic Area continues, visitors are advised to park in the car park at the western end of the picnic area and following the directional signs. These signs will guide visitors across the MacKenzie River, past the three Pise Cottages and along a new section of walking track before linking with the original MacKenzie River Walk.
The section of walking track between Fish Falls and MacKenzie Falls will be open in late June 2013. The works on MacKenzie Falls walking track to the base has been completed and is now open for walkers.
Venus Baths and Wonderland Area
The Wonderland Loop Walk suffered significant damage from the January 2011 flood event that devastated the Grampians National Park, Flood waters caused destruction along the entire length of the walk which has led to the lengthy recovery program. Two footbridges have been replaced, another footbridge has required extensive repairs, two large landslides have required the construction of new walking track alignments, and almost the entire length of the walking track has required repairs, ranging from complete realignments, to the reconstruction of stone staircases and retaining walls.
Eight contractors, a Landmate crew from the Ararat Prison, up to 25 locally employed staff and Parks Victoria staff have completed works on the loop walk across the recovery program. The stonework is really impressive. Parks are going to be working with the Halls Gap and Grampians Historical Association on new interpretative signs here and at Heatherlie Quarry.
The Mt Rosea walking track has also been re opened with a realignment in some areas, and new railings at the lookout. (actually not flood recovery, but as part of the Grampians Peak Trail).
The months keep rolling by and our Park keeps us busy working through a myriads of Projects. It is with great satisfaction that our team starts to wind up the Flood Program and unveil the countless days, weeks and months of effort that has gone into the reinstatement and reconstruction of the Park’s assets. We look forward with anticipation to your feedback on the new designs, materials and final outcomes which have been built with a long term view in mind. This work has been lead by Andrew Roach and Kyle Hewitt who have ensured that presentation and sustainability has driven the decision making around any assets being reinstated. Huge credit goes to these 2 individuals and also the local walking track crews who have evolved and crafted their skills over the past 2 years to really be high quality track construction specialists. It is a sad thing to see them finish up on June 30 as there is always more work.
The Flood program has yielded some great outcomes for our environmental and cultural values in the park via a range of research and assessment projects. Possibly the most rewarding project we have initiated has been the engagement with Traditional Owners to come out on Country and get involved in protection works around important Cultural Sites in the Park. Parks Victoria has worked hard with our Traditional Owners to ensure all have access to employment opportunities as part of the recovery effort. It was great to have these important members of Gariwerd’s community active and engaged capably lead by Jake Goodes and Suzie Deason.
Environmentally our focus has been on measuring and assessing the impacts on our critical park values. Understanding Aquatic values, refugia, location and extent of Citrid and Cinnamon fungus, small Mammal Response to seasonal events and funding initiatives such as the incredibly important Museum Victoria Bioscan has been a huge undertaking in the past 2 years. The reward of these endeavours are longer term as we continue to learn about the park and adapt our management regimes accordingly. Knowledge is the key and as we all know, the moment you stop is the moment you should probably give up. This team has been ably lead by Ryan Duffy and Jacinta Williamson. Their commitment to getting the best outcomes has been faultless.
The theme of this update is really around the fact that all recovery requires an effort from a lot of people and the entire Grampians Team whether directly employed on Flood Projects or continuing on with normal business, have gone above and beyond due to the passion and commitment for this place and this community. The effort should be and will be acknowledged not through formal occasions or ceremony, but more importantly by the fact locals and people visiting our Park will be able to access fantastic features, on high quality infrastructure while continually learning more and more about what this park is and what it means to people. It really is easy being the Ranger in Charge of such an important Landscape and team when the people around you make it so rewarding.