Mount Bogong access 2000-2001
The Mighty Bogong is still on the itinerary for this year 2000- 2001 after a long political battle! Thanks to all the letters of support from so many of you.
The Victorian Minister for Tourism John Pandazopoulos said our issue had attracted more letters than any other in their 9 months in Government. It’s been a long drawn out battle for us though, never knowing from one year to the next if we have access to the “Jewel in our Crown” Mt Bogong and Eskdale Spur.
After 3 months of correspondence from past riders, the replies did not look promising. So the Baird “political machine” went into action. After 3 weeks of intense lobbing of local shire Councilors, the State Government and circulating a petition we were finally granted a meeting to discuss issues. We proposed an alternative route which allows us to continue riding from Taggell point across to the top of Eskdale Spur to Hells Gap and then at the tree line turn right down Granite Flat Spur. The old 4×4 track on Granite flat spur is hardly ever used and we believe this is a fair compromise and will allow the peak riding experiences of Bogong Horseback to continue.
We met with Rosemary Barker, Chief of Staff for Minister Sheryl Garbutt. After a frustrating and sometimes heated debate, we left with an assurance that this year’s permit would be considered. It is now official we have been granted another season to traverse the mountain. A review panel will be set up to decide on our future access. It is critical that this process is a democratic one, something sadly lacking in the past, and that they at least read our submissions and give us a chance to put our case! The Chief Ranger Chris Rose has assured us we will be included in discussions. It would seem we have a long way to go to change the attitude of Park management. There is a place for sustainable tourism. Our rides are low impact and we are continually mindful of sensitive areas. The reluctance of Parks Victoria to communicate their concerns has frustrated our efforts at minimizing impacts. Continued use of Long Spur up and down (shared with public horse riding access) is asking for environmental impacts. A “Guides Only” policy (an issue not yet proposed) not only secures the economic sustainability of tourism businesses and the communities they support but also ensures impacts can be fairly monitored and addressed.