This Summer Is Different
Monday 12 December, 2022
Parks Victoria, Forest Fire Management Victoria and the Conservation Regulator are urging Victorians to be extra prepared before visiting parks and forests this summer.
This summer will be different – flooding is ongoing in some areas, and above-average rainfall is expected to continue into the first part of summer. In some areas vegetation growth stimulated by the wet spring has started to dry out, increasing the risk of grass fires.
Even where the rain has stopped, the impacts of floods and storms will continue for months ahead. Things might not be as expected, and forecasts and park conditions may change rapidly.
Many campsites and access roads, particularly near rivers in northern Victoria, such as along the Murray River, are closed or partially closed and will remain so until they are safe to access.
Visitor safety is a key priority for public land managers. With many parks and campsites badly affected, we’re asking people to be prepared for changing conditions.
In areas where public land has been heavily impacted by flood and storm closures and restrictions, consider alternative activities that support surrounding communities.
Many parks have been flooded over the past months. Credit: Parks Victoria
When visiting parks and forests:
- Before you leave home
- Check if the park or forest is open and its conditions at parks.vic.gov.au or ffm.vic.gov.au/forest-and-road-closures
- Check if roads are open and their conditions
- Pay attention to all signage and barriers, they are in place for your safety
- Avoid camping, picnicking and parking under trees as wet, loose ground is causing them to fall without warning
- Take care when using roads and tracks, they are likely to be slippery, have surface damage and soft edges
- Reconsider the type of activities you will undertake in flood-affected areas
More safety advice is available on the Parks Victoria website.
For up-to-date information on park closures and impacts on Parks Victoria estate, visit Flood and Storm Affected Parks. For information on road and forest closures on DELWP-managed land, visit ffm.vic.gov.au/forest-and-road-closures.For public safety, Authorised Officers from DELWP, Parks Victoria and the Conservation Regulator will also be patrolling forests, parks and reserves targeting illegal off-road activity, littering and unsafe campfires. It is an offence to use closed roads and areas.
Where safe to do so, crews have begun assessment and recovery work across the state, but it will take time to reopen roads, campsites and visitor areas, particularly in hard-hit areas like northern Victoria.
Quotes attributable to Lisa Patroni, Parks Victoria Executive Director Visitor Experience
“This summer will be different for Victorians. Our state is experiencing severe weather events which means that your favourite spots may not be accessible or safe to visit.”
“Safety is our top priority and we’re asking people to plan ahead, be mindful of the situation and prepared for changing conditions.”
“It will take time for flood waters to recede and to reopen our campsites, visitor areas and access roads. We will work with Traditional Owners, communities and the wider Victorian Government to ensure this happens.”
Quotes attributable to Chief Conservation Regulator, Kate Gavens
“It’s important that together, we maintain a safe environment in our forests and parks for all community members to enjoy. As part of patrols, our Authorised Officers speak to visitors to ensure they are aware of the rules and regulations.”
Quotes attributable to Chris Hardman, Chief Fire Officer
“As a result of the floods, many of our state forest vehicle, bike, walking tracks and recreation sites are still temporarily closed or partially closed with access restrictions.
“I encourage anyone thinking of getting out into the great outdoors to take care, take note of signage and closures, keep an eye on weather conditions and be prepared to change plans if necessary.”