Our state forests are important not only for the biodiversity they encompass, but for the enjoyment and wellbeing they offer Victorians. The recent bushfire event recorded over 1 million hectares burnt, badly damaging many campsites, walks and recreational areas, but a lot has since occurred to reopen these areas and allow Victorians ‘back out bush’.
In state forests, 24 recreation sites and 17 walking tracks were within the Gippsland fire footprint and over 30 in the Hume region. Sites impacted included:
- Back road tour network
- Haunted stream and Marthavale camping areas
- Drummer and Casuarina walks
- Mountain huts such as Mt McLeod, Glen Arte, Rich River and Turntable huts
- Wairewa trestle bridge
- Stringers Knob firetower and picnic area
As we approach Christmas, 20 of the 24 sites are now open and 7 of the walking tracks available for you to enjoy
In National Parks and reserves, many popular and well-loved spots were badly burnt including
- Buchan Caves
- Cape Conran Cabins
- Salmon Rocks
- Thurra River Croajingolong NP
- Wingan Inlet Croajingolong NP
- Mallacoota day visitor areas
- MacKenzie rainforest walk
- Wilderness coast walking track
- Genoa Peak and Genoa Falls tracks
What is happening?
In State Forest, the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) have developed a recreation site opening strategy, which details when sites will reopen and to what extent.
In repairing and reopening all the recreation sites, the first step was to ensure safe access into and around the campgrounds. This has involved road reopening and the removal of burnt and dangerous trees posing a risk to the general public.
As all of the affected sites are insured, the next step is to undertake comprehensive and technical assessments of the damage caused and required works to restore the campsites. In undertaking this, agencies are also investigating ways to upgrade visitor sites by providing improved facilities and enhanced experiences, in a bid to build the sites back better, stronger and adapted to future extreme weather events.
One of the most popular activities people enjoy in our forests is exploring the backroads on 4wd trips. Over 7500 km of roads were impacted by fire, prompting a massive effort to reopen this network, with over 5,000 km already completed and reopened.
Sites currently open and ready for a visit when COVID restrictions lift include :
- Choof Choof
- Drummer rainforest walk
- Far East Back track 4wd trail
- Falls Creek memorial
- Goongerah day site
- Little Cabbage tree rec site
- Long point, Sandy point, Woods point
- Noorinbee walking track
- Three Sisters lookout
- Young Creek walk and falls area
Feature : What’s happening at Casuarina walk?
Casuarina walk is a popular track around the outskirts of Mallacoota, it was severely impacted by the 2019/2020 fire with one bridge destroyed. Over the past year, crews have worked to restore the bridge with works now complete, allowing visitors to enjoy the track and witness the re-emergence of vegetation.
The gallery below shows images of damaged interpretation signs, the Fairy Dell walk near Sarsfield, currently closed, a new bridge at Buchan caves, a new viewing platform at Betka Beach and a fire damaged retaining wall planned for restoration in 2021.
Want to know more?
If you have any questions or information you want to share about our recreation sites please contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, you can find up to date information on our heritage registered sites by visiting Heritage Victoria
Useful documents and links
To find out what roads are open in State Forest visit this website : https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/visiting-state-forests/forest-and-road-closures
East Gippsland shire recovery newsletter link …………….
For latest information on fire affected parks, visit https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/get-into-nature/safety-in-nature/fire-affected-parks
For information on the “More to explore” which tells you what recreational opportunities are in your area please go to this link
Or use the visit Victoria site: https://www.visitvictoria.com/
or the Gippsland specific page https://www.visitgippsland.com.au/