Not just any old tree
There are few Australian landscapes more iconic than the River Red Gum forests that line Victoria’s Murray, Ovens and Goulburn rivers. Loved by locals and visitors alike, these areas are popular for recreational activities like camping, fishing, bushwalking and hunting. They are also culturally significant, with rich heritage links to Traditional Owners, and environmentally significant as homes to an abundance of wildlife.
A plan for the parks
In 2018, Parks Victoria released a River Red Gum Parks Management Plan that sets out a long-term vision for the management and protection of five national parks and more than 100 other parks and reserves.
The plan covers an area greater than 215,000 hectares stretching from the South Australian border to Wodonga on the New South Wales border. It applies to the River Red Gum forests along the rivers, as well as several internationally significant wetlands, Aboriginal sites, post-settlement heritage sites and geological sites.
A balanced approach
The plan was influenced by two years of consultation with local communities and other stakeholders, including recreation and interest groups, businesses and Traditional Owners.
One of the major aims of the plan is to improve the health of the rivers as well as the River Red Gum forests and their ecology.. Environmental watering to support the numerous rivers and wetlands is a priority, as is controlling pest animals and weeds, and reducing grazing pressure from kangaroos, rabbits and cattle within the parks and reserves.
Visitors can continue to enjoy popular recreational activities like bush camping, fishing, boating and hunting, with Parks Victoria improving some facilities like boat ramps and access tracks. The plan also supports the development of new tourism initiatives, including bookable campsites, safari-style accommodation and canoe trails.
The plan has sought a balanced approach to parks management – protecting and enhancing the outstanding natural and cultural values of these parks and reserves – while allowing for sustainable recreation and tourism that is compatible with preserving these precious areas.