Due to the impacts of the early winter storms and snow, some roads and tracks in Parks across the east and north east of Victoria have been temporarily closed from Thursday.
Seasonal road closures occur annually across the track networks in National Parks and State Forests, as part of an annual driver safety and road damage prevention program, with most closures occurring later in June.
However, the early start to winter with cold fronts bringing in heavy snow and rain meant some of these tracks in the High Country and Gippsland were already impassable before the traditional closure date of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Following further inclement weather and several rescues of people stranded in vehicles in the alpine areas, seasonal road closures across the Alps were brought brought forward, with some closures already in place since early May. The early closures include tracks across the Snowy River National Park, Alpine National Park, Mt Buffalo National Park and Baw Baw National Park.
Seasonal road closures apply every year for the safety of park and forest visitors and help limit the damage done to roads and tracks softened by rain and snow during the wetter months. It also helps maintain water quality in rivers, creeks and reservoirs by reducing the amount of erosion and silt washed away from roads and tracks.
The social and recreational use of Victoria’s beautiful natural resources is encouraged, but some sections of the network would rapidly disintegrate if opened for the entire year.
If you’re heading out to enjoy the roads and tracks that remain open remember to plan your trip, be well prepared and check the weather forecast before you go.
Forest Fire Management Victoria and Parks Victoria consult with a range of stakeholders, including Four Wheel Drive Victoria, to identify sections of the road and track network that require closures.
“We are focussed on protecting and conserving Victoria’s natural environment and ensuring visitors to our parks have a safe and enjoyable experience,” Parks Victoria regional director, Graeme Baxter, said.
“We’re encouraging everyone to make sure they do the right thing, be really well prepared and check out all the relevant channels to make sure you can access your favourite camping spots before heading out,” Forest Fire Management Victoria assistant chief fire officer, Gippsland, Beth Roberts, said.
To plan a trip and check road closures visit the Forest Fire Management website and follow the links through visiting state forests and forest and road closures.
For information on seasonal closures in parks, including opening and closing dates, visit the Parks Victoria website and follow the links through safety and closures.
You can also contact your local Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning or Parks Victoria office.
“You can also take a look at our More to Explore app, which has some handy map-based information on some of the great areas you can visit this long weekend to camp at, or go for a ride or walk,” Ms Roberts said.
Many other roads within parks will be closed from the season from June 16. Check the relevant websites for details.
Most of the roads and tracks are re-opened in time for the Melbourne Cup Weekend, but the closure period can be extended if the conditions demand it.