Plan for parks

By Country News

A new Parks Victoria initiative has laid out a fifteen-year plan to preserve the state’s 100 parks and reserves, while also increasing recreational activities and tourism opportunities.

The River Red Gum Parks Management Plan outlines the management of more than 215000ha along the Murray, Ovens and Goulburn rivers, including Australia’s iconic river red gum forests.

The plan covers locations including Gunbower National Park, Shepparton and Kerang regional parks, wildlife reserves and a number of visitor experience areas across the region.

Several significant wetlands, including a diverse range of flora, fauna and threatened species and highly significant indigenous, heritage and geological sites are also included in the planning area.

The plan also supports the development of new recreational initiatives to grow regional economies including bookable campsites, the Murray River Adventure Trail and the Lower Ovens canoe trail.

Improving ecosystem health and habitat connectivity, supporting environmental watering to improve natural processes, reduce grazing pressure and predation, reduce aquatic pests and reduce weed invasion and impacts were outlined as key priorities of the region’s future management.

Parks Victoria chief operating officer Simon Talbot said the plan had been compiled after extensive community engagement.

‘‘The unique natural environment of these parks and reserves will be conserved, managed adaptively and progressively enhanced to sustain the natural systems and species,’’ he said.

The proposed Murray River Park — which incorporates a section of Gunbower Forest and includes long stretches along the Murray River from east of Wodonga to west of Mildura, forms one of the major proposed links in a chain of forest along the Murray River, extending for a distance of more than 600km.

Parks Victoria said the proposed park would provide for improved management, enhancing habitat connectivity for the red gum forests along the river.