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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 3 of 10. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 100 | 101 to 120 | 121 to 140 | 141 to 160 | 161 to 180 | 181 to 189
Author
wood fires at Arapiles

Miguel75
4/06/2011
8:56:07 PM
On 4/06/2011 Marssan wrote:
>...There's no good reason to have a fire at Araps anyway, if they banned
>fires outright i wouldn't miss it for a second and my downy would smell
>a lot nicer.

There are a number of us, at least two that I know of, who like having a fire because they enjoy the fireside ambience and abide by the rules, having fires in the pits and bringing their own wood. We also have quiet, philosophical conversations around said fire.

I'm with you on the smell front though, everytime I smell a campfire it reminds me of my burnt out living room...
RNM
5/06/2011
5:36:51 AM
Whoops. Despite camping and climbing at Araps too many times to count over the years, I don't think I have ever been aware of the ban on collecting firewood within the park.

Why not perminantly close the road around the base? Would mean creating a new parking area somewhere, but would reduce the area that people can easily collect wood from, and further reduce the impact that users have on the park.

Tom_
5/06/2011
10:47:24 AM
On 4/06/2011 Mike Bee wrote:
>Out of interest, how many people who are against reducing or banning fires
>at Araps are in favour of the carbon tax?
>Anyone who is for the carbon tax and is worried about climate change but
>continues to have a fire is hypocritical to say the least.

Trees are renewable and the carbon effect of wood burning is almost neutral, hypocrisy averted!
Penny
5/06/2011
5:21:21 PM
I know I'm a self-important, hypocritical yuppie too, but I think the biodiversity argument alone is a good reason to limit campfires at Arapiles. The stumpies, the echidnas, the peregrines, the little black lizards, and the two tawny frogmouths on a fencepost near the bins have been real highlights of my Araps trips. I know these ones are mostly too big to live in fallen logs, but it seems reasonable to me to say they probably eat stuff that lives in fallen logs. And the stuff that lives in fallen logs is probably pretty cool too (velvet worms maybe?), I just haven't spent enough time looking for them.
Maybe we could all just find someone to cuddle when we can't have fires?

robbie
5/06/2011
6:08:06 PM
At the last VCC Easter trip i presented my gas heater to the masses! A response from one of the HARDMEN was, "bit soft mate." No matter, no smoke, no sparkes, portability and no UGLY mess that fire users seem to leave behind. I could go on and on like a reformed smoker ;-) . I am a convert of the LPG heater. I reckon the VCC should invest a couple, you know, like the ones in Lygon St. A cool way, "did I say that," to up the membership on a cold winters night and a fiew bevies.............

robbie
5/06/2011
6:19:48 PM
Thats the one Wendy, some of my greatest memories have been snow camping with John Chapman and 10 to 12 people retiring to his tent for a bullshit session and adult beverage. One night on on the Ram's Horn, -15c. I think a bit more open tent behavior is apt.
lacto
5/06/2011
6:43:13 PM
EXACTLY how big is arapiles , stated1000 acres google would put it a more than 1000 hectares , Absolute minimum growth would be 1 tonne per hectare per year of timber , how do parks intend to impliment their fuel load controls , a reduction burn is well overdue and MUST be on a 5 to 10 year cycle . (coalition election promise ) For parks to have such a concentration of visitors and not burn would open them up for all sorts of legal action should a wild fire expose visitors to danger or will it be closed over summer ? grasses provide a fuel load of 4 to 5 tonne fuel load per hectare but basically decay out a yearly cycle but timber will build up for many years . SURELY CONTROLLED REMOVAL OF WOOD, BURNT IN CAMP FIRES, WOULD HELP PROTECT THE PARK AND IT NATIVE ANIMAL POPULATION. I actually think several thousand tons of wood is grown each year ( but not necessarily immediately harvestable ) at arapiles and the pines area is relatively a small portion of the park .

Miguel75
5/06/2011
8:39:41 PM
On 4/06/2011 nmonteith wrote:
>I love my fire at home and collect wood from my own property. Am I a sinner?

Yes.

Warning, this post contains gross generalizations and isn't Arapiles specific.

While I greatly enjoy a fire when camping and am not a fan of the Arapiles shortened fire season proposal, with a bit of reflection I'm beginning to understand the reasoning behind it. Through personal experiences I'm coming to feel climbers, in general, are a slovenly mob who dont seem capable of looking after their own playgrounds. I say this because everytime I hit up Werribee Gorge on a Monday morning I end up with a ridiculous amount of trash to pack out. I've also experienced similar levels of trash at Camels Hump and Morialta Gorge.

If climbers understand the rules of the game we play, both written and unwritten, and aren't paying camp fees, are having fires in the wrong places and scavenging wood from within the park, along with leaving way too much garbage at the base of crags, they should quietly take their lumps as they have no right to complain when the authorities step in to govern the ungovernable.

And I hate chalk! I would like it banned too. Or at least colour coded to the rock being climbed;)







Wendy
5/06/2011
10:48:37 PM
On 5/06/2011 lacto wrote:
>EXACTLY how big is arapiles , stated1000 acres google would put it a more
>than 1000 hectares , Absolute minimum growth would be 1 tonne per hectare
>per year of timber , how do parks intend to impliment their fuel load
>controls , a reduction burn is well overdue and MUST be on a 5 to 10 year
>cycle . (coalition election promise ) For parks to have such a concentration
>of visitors and not burn would open them up for all sorts of legal action
>should a wild fire expose visitors to danger or will it be closed over
>summer ? grasses provide a fuel load of 4 to 5 tonne fuel load per hectare
>but basically decay out a yearly cycle but timber will build up for many
>years . SURELY CONTROLLED REMOVAL OF WOOD, BURNT IN CAMP FIRES, WOULD
>HELP PROTECT THE PARK AND IT NATIVE ANIMAL POPULATION. I actually think
>several thousand tons of wood is grown each year ( but not necessarily
>immediately harvestable ) at arapiles and the pines area is relatively
>a small portion of the park .

Fuel reduction is a complete tangent. Intensive firewood collection around the campground and roadsides is not a fire management strategy. It is a localised and uncontrollable way of trying to manage fire risk. No one collects from most of the park. It simply removes habitat from the area already most affected by human activities. Besides, when have DSE done fire reduction burns at Arapiles?

As a further tangent, I am very skeptical of "fuel reduction" burning. DSE did fuel reduction burns in the Moora Moora valley the year before the fires in the Grampians. The fire still proceeded to burn through that valley, in fact, some of the most intense burn were in the valley. Mt Buffalo burnt in 2003, 2006 and is primed and has been primed and ready to go again since at least 2008, with vast amounts of dead wood and bark fallen to the ground from the fire, thick regrown of eucalypts to several metres tall and towering dead trees, Mt Hay has gone up several times in the past decade. It appears to me that burning hasn't really reduced fire risk. I think the latest campaign for more burning (I love coalition promises. remember cows will reduce fire in the alpine national park too) is because it's a way that govts can be seen to be proactive and placate people regardless of whether the outcomes are actually achieved. People like the sound of fuel reduction burning. It reminds them of cleaning up their back yards and burning all the rubbish. But FR burning doesn't do that and I wouldn't want it too, regardless of whether some people might. And it's nonsense to prattle that Aboriginal people have always burnt the land. We understand very little of Aboriginal burning patterns, we have lost access to much of that knowledge through our destruction of their communities and culture and we have changed the environment oso substantially since then that we can't just hop back on that band wagon even if we knew what it was. Aboriginal knowledge was always very specific to the areas that they lived in, they they knew intimately. You could never take a generalisation about aboriginal practices and apply it across the board anyway.


>Arapiles was much nicer before the wildfire went through and caused all the wattle (fire weed) growth around the base of the cliffs banning fires will lead to more likelyhood of further such fire or the regular cotrolled fuel reduction burns .

To each their own ... I've been climbing at Araps (I can't even say here at the moment as I'm the other side of the world, I'm a good hypocrite) since 1991 and I think it's been better than ever in the last few years.

>Burning of the wood produces less greenhouse gas than letting it decay .

And how can a piece of wood decaying produce more GHG than when it is burnt? there is only a set amount of carbon in the bit of wood in the first place.

And of course, we are all hypocritical in some way. All we can hope to do is minimise it and do the best we can. Pointing out when people are not doing absolutely everything they could be does not remove the value of them doing what they are doing. It does however seem to make people who struggle with their own guilt feel better to point out that others are also not perfect.

I will, however, point out that Louise uses her wood fire at home extremely minimally and that putting on more clothes is the standard method of dealing with cold in her house. she also car pools, uses public transport and very sensibly decided to move to 10km from the crag so she isn't driving 800km each weekend to go climbing. She's really not a good example is you want to target hypocrisy.
lacto
6/06/2011
9:25:04 AM
burn wood co2 and h2o + heat . . Store wood, slowly rots or eaten with large portion of c going to methane which is 20+ times worse than co2
Dse is having to lodge plans for FR burns for all the state so it is coming
YES uncontrolled collection of wood must STOP
maxdacat
6/06/2011
10:06:22 AM
Sound like Bob Katter is on the right track standing up for those who want to boil a billy:

"And now he's got his own political party, the gorgeously named Katter's Australian Party, an organisation that will stand up for your right to boil a billy on a campfire, to catch a fish for dinner and to banish big-brother policies that prevent the construction of tree houses."

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/katter-patter/story-e6frgdk6-1226069692254

Just back from NT and there are fires all over the place there......they are part of nature. I think the biodiversity argument is balanced by the fuel reduction one. Campers at Araps just need to spread their firewood foraging over a wider area instead of hacking down everything within a 50m radius....and of course pay their fees.
gfdonc
6/06/2011
12:22:20 PM
Another 2c worth.

I point out there's a disparity here between the weekend warriors and the local community.

The weekenders* turn up to camp, to climb but also to catch up with friends in the evening. A campfire facilitates the social aspects of the weekend. As I alluded to above, I was there in April and it was too cold to sit around without a campfire. We all put extra clothing on and fortified ourselves with wine but it wasn't pleasant to stay out. Fortunately our neighbours had a fire going and we joined them (there were two fires in the Pines that evening).

The local residents use Arapiles as a day facility then retire to their local villages and their wood-fired combustion stoves or whatever equivalent they may have. For them, maintenance of the ecosystem has high value and the option to sit around a fire has very low, if any, value.

I think the quick series of contributions to this thread reflect the fact that Group A feel disenfranchised that their interests have not been fairly represented by Group B. I feel there is a right to camp with a campfire and that right can exist despite those who choose not to or have other views.

I'd also add I purchase or bring firewood to the Mount whenever I wish to have the option of having a fire (and water by the way).

I'm seeing a disturbing trend where our State and National parks are being legislated out of use through closures, restrictions and the like. I don't want to see this continue. After all, climbing is one of those activities which is or can be subject to restrictive controls. We should not be encouraging the nanny state.

*and by weekenders I'm not just limiting it to people turning up on weekends, you catch my drift I'm sure.
Wendy
6/06/2011
11:04:50 PM
On 6/06/2011 gfdonc wrote:
>Another 2c worth.
>
>I point out there's a disparity here between the weekend warriors and
>the local community.
>
>The weekenders* turn up to camp, to climb but also to catch up with friends
>in the evening. A campfire facilitates the social aspects of the weekend.
> As I alluded to above, I was there in April and it was too cold to sit
>around without a campfire. We all put extra clothing on and fortified
>ourselves with wine but it wasn't pleasant to stay out. Fortunately our
>neighbours had a fire going and we joined them (there were two fires in
>the Pines that evening).

Thanks for yet another example of our communities incapacity to self regulate!

>
>The local residents use Arapiles as a day facility then retire to their
>local villages and their wood-fired combustion stoves or whatever equivalent
>they may have. For them, maintenance of the ecosystem has high value and
>the option to sit around a fire has very low, if any, value.
>
>I think the quick series of contributions to this thread reflect the fact
>that Group A feel disenfranchised that their interests have not been fairly
>represented by Group B. I feel there is a right to camp with a campfire
>and that right can exist despite those who choose not to or have other
>views.
>

But people from Nati also go to other places and camp. I don't light a fire when I camp in the Gramps (except when camping with Joe, who inevitably lights the biggest fire in the known universe and I inevitably try and persuade him to downsize with minimal success!) or Buffalo or Moonarie or ski touring, which is about as bloody cold as it gets. Sometimes you just have to put up with the weather. If the weather gets in the way of your plans to socialise, that's life. The weather gets in the way of climbing plans on a regular basis too.

>I'd also add I purchase or bring firewood to the Mount whenever I wish
>to have the option of having a fire (and water by the way).

If everyone was also being responsible, maybe we wouldn't need to have this conversation? And someone mentioned "dirtbags ruining it for the rest of us" earlier, so I thought I might also point out that I have seen plenty of weekenders/families/fancy cars/caravans/respectable looking non climbing bum types also having fires outside of pits/fire season, camping out of designated camping area, driving along the closed road and I'm sure they are responsible for some of the pretty loo paper temples too.
>
>I'm seeing a disturbing trend where our State and National parks are being
>legislated out of use through closures, restrictions and the like. I don't
>want to see this continue. After all, climbing is one of those activities
>which is or can be subject to restrictive controls. We should not be encouraging
>the nanny state.

And isn't the best way of avoiding this by providing evidence that we can be trusted to minimise our impact and look after our crags and campgrounds by ourselves? Which is not what has been happening. Instead we are providing evidence that we are selfish bastards who want to have our cake and eat it too.
>
dave james
7/06/2011
1:03:52 AM
I understand the biodiversity effects of firewood collection in the immediate vicinity of the campground and it was only a couple of years ago i saw campers breaking down dead trees to burn. Surely though this phenomenon is to a large degree limited to an increasingly small area further away from the campsite. ie naturally campers tend to be less likely to have a fire the further they have to wander to find firewood?? Sure some people then jump in the car and drag back a bunch from the scrub further afield but not everyone does that and at that point and distance from the campsite -wildfire, ecological and hazard reduction burns would have a greater effect on 'coarse woody debris' and biodiversity. Keep in mind also we are not talking about woodhookers with jacked up 4wds and chainsaws. Just dudes scavenging what they can find to keep warm, cook and hang out with their tribe( no offence meant to indigenous owners)
Either way, surely there is a more modern solution that takes into account cultural and human use factors as well as ecological?
Don't get me wrong, i think a 6 month ban is fair but trimming it down to 3months seems pretty unimaginative and an outdated approach to park management. Sure, Parks is under resourced and its easieiest and cheapest to say a "Big Fat No To Everything' but at some point increasing regulation and restriction serves only to foster increased resentment in the community with minimal gain for the environment.
Based on my last trip to araps 2 years ago i'd say signage and education on biodiversity issues associated with campfires were pretty close to absent. This could be as simple as an unavoidable sign at campground entrance saying "Do not collect firewood in the reserve" or as complex as 'code of conduct' for firewood collection (do you really need a fire? keep it small, only dead fallen wood, no chainsaws, etc), or as delightful as a photo essay interpretive board of all the animals that shelter, feed and dwell in dead wood on the ground or in dead standing timber. Sure some people maybe don't care that much but most climbers do.

StuckNut
7/06/2011
11:05:02 AM
On 7/06/2011 dave james wrote:
>Based on my last trip to araps 2 years ago i'd say signage and education
>on biodiversity issues associated with campfires were pretty close to absent.
>This could be as simple as an unavoidable sign at campground entrance saying
>"Do not collect firewood in the reserve" or as complex as 'code of conduct'
>for firewood collection (do you really need a fire? keep it small, only
>dead fallen wood, no chainsaws, etc), or as delightful as a photo essay
>interpretive board of all the animals that shelter, feed and dwell in dead
>wood on the ground or in dead standing timber. Sure some people maybe don't
>care that much but most climbers do.

I agree with more education and 'obvious' signage that cannot be overlooked. We usually pick up a pack of commercially sold firewood when we head to the Gramps or Araps for having a fire. I am not sure if there is any where in Nati where firewood can be purchased but surely making firewood commercially available nearby and providing directions would be worth a shot.

Enforcing stricter rules usually hurts more for those who are already playing by the rules, not those that are flaunting the existing rules.
gfdonc
7/06/2011
11:28:25 AM
On 6/06/2011 Wendy wrote:
>But people from Nati also go to other places and camp. I don't light
>a fire when I camp in the Gramps (except when camping with Joe, who inevitably
>lights the biggest fire in the known universe and I inevitably try and
>persuade him to downsize with minimal success!) or Buffalo or Moonarie
>or ski touring, which is about as bloody cold as it gets.

But that's part of my point. You choose not to have a fire. I'm OK with that. I would like the choice.
What is objectionable is having those who choose not to, impose their will on the rest of us.

jkane
7/06/2011
4:09:32 PM
A couple of people have mentioned lack of signage about collecting wood. Maybe the signage could be better, but there is a sign in the toilet that has been vandalised by a child (or someone with the mind of a child).

I agree with the posts by gfdonc

I think it's a shame that this is happening. I bring my own water and firewood.

I don't believe that people are roaming all over the park stripping it bare of fallen wood. People who do collect wood generally don't go too far from the road and as other's have pointed out, these people probably aren't all arrogant and uncaring and probably could have been won over.

A ban probably won't change the behaviour of those that dont care.

Does this have to go into a draft management plan for comment before it becomes final?
crazyjohn
8/06/2011
12:58:46 PM
First of all, I am opposed to the increase in the permanent fire ban at Arapiles. So far, the only official reason given for the ban is a Parks officer reporting that scientific studies show that collecting firewood decreases biodiversity. Of course, many more reasons for the ban have been brought up by users of this forum. However, this one reason has been the only one given by the committee in the very limited discussions I have had with them.

However, Parks already knows all this! That is why firewood collection within the park is already illegal. What the committee has not addressed and the obviously controversial crux of the whole issue is- Why does the committee feel that the biodiversity is under major threat and why are the current rules not working? This is difficult to address because the committee is being intentionally aloof about their reasons. They do not appear to be interested in any discussion. People opposed to the ban are left to imagine the reasons why the committee thinks the current Parks rules have failed.

As has been pointed out, “firewood gathering” can be in many forms; from the use of four-wheel drives and chainsaws to the collection of some twigs and bracken to start a fire using wood obtained outside the park. There is anecdotal evidence that users are burning wood gathered in the park. However, there is also overwhelming anecdotal evidence (and probably scientific) that in the last 25 years the park has had a great increase in biodiversity.

It may be uncontroversial that firewood gathering decreases biodiversity. It is also uncontroversial that banning camping and climbing would also increase biodiversity. However, maintaining biodiversity is not the only concern of the Mt Arapiles-Tooan management plan. Recreational use in the camping zones is also a primary concern and having campfires is a big part of that recreation. Moving from “gathering firewood decreases biodiversity” to “climbers at Arapiles are destroying the biodiversity at Arapiles by collecting firewood and therefore recreational use needs to be curbed” is excessive and unsubstantiated.

I do not believe that there is a critically destructive level of firewood gathering at Arapiles. But let us assume that there is an unacceptable level of firewood gathering, as the committee supposedly does. What do we do about it? What the committee is saying is basically that:

1. The users of Arapiles are destroying the biodiversity of the park by gathering firewood.
2. There is no point in even attempting to engage the users of the park in discussion about this destructive behaviour or attempt any kind of user/climber based solution.
3. The only way to stop this destructive behaviour is to go above the users of the park and have Parks enforce a fire ban on everyone.

In the last 6 days since Louise deigned to inform this forum of the committee’s decision about the fire ban, there have been many imaginative suggestions about how the users of Arapiles could curb the gathering of wood. Perhaps 6 months ago, when the committee started its “deliberation” they could have mentioned the idea to the common users of the park in order to get some of this great input. Considering that the committee tried EXACTLY NOTHING in the last 6 months to stop firewood gathering, it is wrong to take the absolute last step of requesting an outright ban. I don't think the committee has the right to ask Parks to solve their perceived problems without trying anything user-based first.

One final reason I am opposed to the ban. Lets assume that firewood gathering in Arapiles is at some sort of critical emergency stage (Im not convinced it is). Parks is apparently unable to enforce the current illegal practices of firewood gathering. How is forcing Parks to monitor even more illegal activities supposed to work? The assumption is that the users of the park will not want to break the new law. My question is why would they break one law and not the other? The obvious reason is that users are not aware that gathering wood is such a serious problem. Otherwise, if they are just careless criminals it would make no difference what laws you had. How will users be aware that the new ban is in place? BY PUTTING UP A BIG SIGN! Well, obviously, a big sign that tells users in no uncertain terms firewood gathering is illegal may work. Logically it has the same chance as putting up a big sign that bans fires!

I will be challenging this ban in every way I can. I hope other people will too!
maxdacat
8/06/2011
1:06:22 PM
+1

well put.

Sabu
8/06/2011
1:09:00 PM
The most coherent thing I've read from you! Indeed well put.

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