Central Gippsland parks and reserves well on the road to recovery
Monday 19 September, 2022
The powerful storm of June 2021 caused considerable damage to parks and reserves across central Gippsland. After almost $1.4 million of recovery works funded by a Treasury Advance, most parks and popular outdoor destinations are back open and ready for visitors.
The mess and destruction the storm left in its wake included landslides, as well as roads and infrastructure damage. The combination of heavy rains and strong winds were so powerful that established trees were uprooted and camping spots, reserves and trails were impacted across Central Gippsland.
“Along with the whole community, Parks Victoria staff were living through a declared state emergency. Everyone found themselves working and living in a very challenging environment”, explains Helen Dixon, District Manager, Central Gippsland.
The immediate emergency response, delivered by the SES and State Government, restored access to critical supplies and transport pathways across the region. While coping with significant impacts to their personal and home lives, Parks Victoria staff worked closely with other agencies, government bodies, businesses, and community groups to start the process of recovery.
“The storm caused damage that required professional clearing, engineering solutions and in some cases complete re-building. At the same time meeting much greater demands at work, your everyday activities, food shopping, getting kids to school, caring for aged friends and relatives, were completely disrupted, and made very difficult in the circumstances,” says Helen.
One year on from the dramatic events of June 2021, and largely thanks to a treasury advance from the Victorian Government in November 2021, Parks Victoria has delivered $1.4 million of recovery projects across the Central Gippsland District in just seven months, from November 2021 to July 2022.
A large gum blocks a walking track at Turra-Bulga National Park.
Everything from assessment of damage, assessments of safety and risk, debris removal, and other ‘make safe’ works, through to securing building and construction materials and the labour required to carry works, at a time when there were widespread shortages of both across the country.
This outcome represents a mammoth logistical and operational achievement by Parks Victoria staff, working closely in partnership with stakeholders, suppliers, and other government agencies.
Major clean-up works happened in popular destination such as Alpine National Park, Baw Baw National Park, Walhalla Historic Area, Lakes National Park, Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park, Morwell National Park, and Tarra Bulga National Park.
In total our work covered:
- Debris management over 180 km’s of tracks
- Track maintenance across 10 parks and 43 km’s of tracks
- Recreational site maintenance occurred across 17 parks and reserves, 37 day-visitor sites and campgrounds, with 520 individual trees treated for hazards.
The Moroka Range Track post recovery works.
“This is a proud achievement that belongs to everyone involved: Parks Victoria staff, our supplier and contractors, workers, volunteers and all those people within the region and across the state who supported us. Because of this mammoth effort, we’re able to welcome visitors and tourists back to almost all areas of Park Victoria’s Central Gippsland District,” says Helen.
While most of works funded by the Treasury Advance are nearing completion, a range of additional works are commencing as Parks Victoria works closely with insurers to repair visitor infrastructure. It is important to check park conditions when planning and before you visit.
It's Helen's sense that now is a great time to visit, “if you haven’t been here for a while, now is the time to plan a trip. The landscape is healing, and Parks Victoria has re-opened most facilities and sites previously closed because of storm damage. We look forward to welcoming locals, visitors and tourists back to this beautiful region of Victoria.”
You can check for any updated changes affecting parks and reserves by going directly to the individual park page on this website, visit the Changed Conditions page or contact the Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963.