Budj Bim National Park reopens
Tuesday 3 March, 2020
Visitors encouraged to visit park and cultural landscape
Parks Victoria has re-opened Budj Bim National Park in the state’s south-west following a significant bushfire that started on 30 December 2019.
The fire impacted the majority of the 5,500-hectare national park, which was closed in early January to ensure the safety of the public and emergency services personnel.
After fighting the bushfire, Parks Victoria Rangers and Field Services Officers worked quickly to make the park safe for visitors to return, including clearing debris from tracks and popular walks, rebuilding steps and signs, removing hazardous trees, and restoring a water supply to facilities at campground.
While a section of the Lake Surprise Walk and a staircase at Tunnel Cave will remain closed for assessments and repair, co-managers Parks Victoria and Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation are encouraging visitors back to the national park, which forms part of the wider Budj Bim Cultural Landscape.
Added to the UNESCO World Heritage List last year, the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape contains evidence of an aquaculture system and stone dwellings that were built by the Gunditjmara people more than 6,600 years ago.
Parks Victoria works with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning as part of Forest Fire Management Victoria and alongside CFA, the Forest Industry and Traditional Owners to prepare for, fight and recover from bushfires on public land.
Quotes attributable to Don Tumney, Area Chief Ranger–Parks Victoria:
“Budj Bim is an important national park for the region and Victoria, a stunning volcanic landscape that forms part of the area’s rich Aboriginal cultural heritage.”
“With the long weekend approaching, we’ve worked hard to get the park, trails, campground and picnic areas open again. I encourage people to visit Budj Bim and support the wider region, as well as other parks and reserves in Victoria.”
“When visiting, it’s important that people stay on tracks and roads so the surrounding landscape can recover, and to also avoid areas that may still be at risk from falling branches and fragile terrain.”
Quotes attributable to Denis Rose, Program Manager–Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation:
“The work of all those involved in fighting the fires, and now in the recovery process, has been outstanding.”
“Although fire has impacted much of the landscape, the burns have also revealed cultural sites that were concealed beneath vegetation. These includes sites that may be part of the aquaculture systems which were recognised last year by UNESCO.”
“While we look to assess those new sites, people can still come down and see these special cultural areas, including places like Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Area which was not affected by fire.”