East Gippsland News Weekend

14 East Gippsland News Weekend | May 2024 DEECA and BTAC unblock McMillans Walking Track After the Ben Cruachan Walking Club completed an end-to-end walk of the 210km McMillans Walking Track last December, members submitted a track condition report to the various land managers whose land the track traverses. Other than the urgent need to spray for blackberries at various locations, the report identified two sections of the track that needed urgent clearing and marking; the one kilometre section from Black River to the CS5 Track which was indistinct, over grown and difficult to follow and several sections of the 3.8km track from Champion Spur Track to Stander Creek which had many large logs across the track at the upper end and a section of very dense regrowth further down. The DEECA Macalister District administered from Heyfield is the land manager for the Black River section and DEECA Coulburn District administered from Mansfield is the land manager for the Stander Creek section. Champion Spur Track is the divider between the districts. It is pleasing to report that not only have DEECA applied resources to these sections but have also addressed a number of other areas along McMillans Walking Track. After DEECA had done much of the heavy work a party of six BTAC volunteers went in and polished off the last remaining work to clear and improve the track marking of the 9.5km section between the Black River and Stander Creek. The hardest task for the volunteers over ANZAC weekend was to get their equipment back up the 600m climb from where they finished work back to their camp site on Champion Spur Track. The volunteers met up at Fiddlers Green on ANZAC day and then travelled in convoy along the challenging Champion Spur Track taking over an hour to complete 15km. 4WD skills and patience were put to the test. They established their camping spot at the junction of Champion Spur Track and CS5 Track. Friday morning they headed down CS5 (CS3 on some maps) Track and expected to start clearing logs and vegetation on a short dozed track off CS5 only to find that the first and worst section of logs had already been cleared. After 200 metres the dozed track and the clearing work stoped. From here work started in earnest to clear the indistinct walking pad along a rocky ridge and then down a shaly face to the Black River. At the Black River, a small camping area just downstream of the river crossing was tidied up and track markers were installed on the way back up to camp. On Saturday they headed down the track to Stander Creek and admired all the good work done by the DEECA crew of clearing the large logs near the top and clearing through the dense over growth further down. The volunteers cleared from where the DEECA crew finished down to Stander Creek. They didn't take a chainsaw for this section but managed to throw off most logs. The few that were left are easy step overs. They also did a bit of tidy up work in the dense section that the DEECA crew had done the hard work on. Some additional track markers were installed. As for the previous evening a camp fire kept the volunteers warm as they prepared their meals and socialised. Sunday morning, though cool, was yet another fine day. The volunteers packed up camp and headed home getting more 4WD experience as they exited Champion Spur Track. Over the weekend they worked some 108 on the job hours to clear approximately 2.5km of the track. The volunteers spent some 70 hours travelling to and from the activity. Thanks to the efforts of DEECA Macalister, DEECA Coulburn and the BTAC volunteers the whole 9.5km stretch of McMillans Walking Track from Black River to Stander Creek is now easy walking as far as following the track and the track being log free and clear of vegetation. One still has to do a hard steep climb which ever direction one walks it. Taking a break along McMillans Walking Track. Calculate yours at taxcuts.gov.au Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra Tax cuts for every taxpayer Estimate yours with the tax cut calculator.