Park a chang­ing land­scape

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

Awet May has helped boost the nat­u­ral beauty of Grampians Na­tional Park ahead of a po­ten­tial in­flux of tourists dur­ing the Queen’s Birth­day long week­end.

Parks Vic­to­ria Grampians chief ranger Rhonda Mcneil said above av­er­age rain­fall in the park dur­ing the past month had its many wa­ter­falls and wa­ter­ways flow­ing, and plant and an­i­mal life thriv­ing.

The Bu­reau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy web­site showed Mount Wil­liam in the Grampians re­ceived 196.2 mil­lime­tres of rain dur­ing May, well above the monthly av­er­age of 129.9.

It also ex­ceeded the May av­er­age for num­ber of days with more than one mil­lime­tre of rain – 15.5 – with 19.

Ms Mcneil said while re­cent wet weather was not enough to com­pletely re­ju­ve­nate the land­scape af­ter a pro­longed dry pe­riod, it had pro­duced no­tice­able ef­fects.

“The re­cent rain­fall across the Grampians Na­tional Park has been won­der­ful to see, with shades of green be­gin­ning to re­turn to the land­scape af­ter a long, dry pe­riod,” she said.

“Sum­mer and last win­ter were both very dry, how­ever, so it will take time for wa­ter to re­turn to the sys­tem.

“Though early days, th­ese wel­come rains will give a boost to the park’s wa­ter­falls and wa­ter­ways, and as­sist plants to grow, which will in­crease food for our na­tive wildlife.”

While peak tourist sea­son in the park co­in­cides with sum­mer, Ms Mcneil said vis­it­ing in the colder months had its own ben­e­fits.

She said the prospect of see­ing snow, as The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser reader Rochelle Sullivan did at Mount Wil­liam last week, was a draw­card for many peo­ple.

“The cooler sea­sons are fan­tas­tic times to visit the area, with the moun­tain range tak­ing on a new per­spec­tive, more sites avail­able at camp­grounds and per­fect con­di­tions for sit­ting around a camp­fire,” she said.

“The ad­di­tional chance of see­ing snow is a pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity at­tract­ing peo­ple to the park in th­ese cooler months.”

Ms Mcneil said while the on­set of cold, wet weather had helped re­fresh the park’s nat­u­ral beauty, it pre­sented its own set of chal­lenges for vis­i­tors.

“There are some ba­sic prepa­ra­tions and tips that peo­ple should fol­low when out in parks and re­serves dur­ing win­ter,” she said.

“Dur­ing wet weather, roads can be chal­leng­ing to drive, so take ex­tra care.”

She said peo­ple should also tell fam­ily and-or friends their plans and bring pro­tec­tive cloth­ing, ap­pro­pri­ate footwear, plenty of wa­ter, ex­tra food, wilder­ness first aid kit, map, com­pass and GPS if out bush­walk­ing.

Ms Mcneil said peo­ple should also avoid walk­ing alone and re­mem­ber re­cep­tion could be lim­ited in ar­eas of the park.

She said peo­ple should re­frain from burn­ing rub­bish on camp­fires while camp­ing.

Sea­sonal road clo­sures in the park will take ef­fect af­ter the Queen’s Birth­day week­end, and cur­rent park con­di­tions can be checked by vis­it­ing web­site or call­ing 13 1963.

WIN­TER WON­DER­LAND: The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser reader Rochelle Sullivan made the cold trek up Mt Wil­liam on Wed­nes­day last week to check out the snow. Ms Sullivan said at 11am it was zero de­grees.

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