A new playground for Melbourne. Discover nature’s beauty right on our doorstep.
Just 90 minutes north-east of Melbourne - stretching from Kinglake to Mt Baw Baw and north-east up to Eildon - the Great Forest National Park will protect endangered forests and wildlife and give Melburnians an escape from the concrete jungle.
The Great Forest National Park proposal will add 355,000 hectares of protected forests to the existing 170,000 hectares of parks and protected areas in the Central Highlands of Victoria.
The basis for this tenure change is weighed scientifically, socially and economically against 5 key reasons:
1. Biodiversity. Conservation of near extinct wildlife and plants after decades of over-logging, the impacts of the tragic 2009 bushfires, and in light of future fire events.
2. Water. Protection of water catchments for Melbourne, and for the LaTrobe and the Goulburn-Murray River systems. The largest area of clean water and catchment in Victoria. Food bowl and community security.
3. Tourism. This is one of Victoria's richest ecological assets and these magnificent forests have not yet been included in a state plan to encourage tourism. Our rural towns want and need this.
4. Climate. These forests store more carbon per hectare than any other forest studied in the world. They sequester carbon, modulate the climate and can act as giant storage banks to absorb excess carbon if they are not logged. The financial opportunity in carbon credits are significant and can be paid directly to the State if a system is established Federally.
5. Places of spiritual nourishment. These forests have been described as a 'keeping place' by the traditional owners, a place to secure the story of the land and places of spiritual nourishment that we pass onto future generations. There is no price tag on the value nature brings to mental health and spiritual well-being.
A park for people
For Melburnians the Great Forest National Park will be a perfect weekend getaway; a place to relax and enjoy nature. The proposed park area is conveniently close to the city and easy to navigate to.
The Great Forest National Park will be a place to meander along beautiful mountain streams, take a spin on your mountain bike under a canopy of towering Mountain Ash trees, or hike through spectacular alpine woodlands.
There will be something for everyone with activities such as bike riding, bushwalking, bird watching, four-wheel driving, camping, zipline tours and so much more.
This new park will be the perfect place to recharge and enjoy the peace and tranquility of Victoria’s spectacular natural beauty.
Sound’s too good to be true? Go and see it for yourself. Download the Wilderness Society’s free self drive tour map and visit one of the special pockets of forest that forms part of the future site of the Great Forest National Park.
This real-life fairytale needs a happily ever after
Home to threatened species, including Victoria’s animal emblem - the Fairy Possum, the proposed park will also be a sanctuary, providing real and lasting protection to some of Victoria’s, and the world’s, rarest plant and animal species.
The Fairy Possum is so tiny it weighs less than half a block of chocolate and can fit in the palm of your hand. Without the Great Forest National Park, Victoria’s animal emblem is headed for extinction.
For more than 20 million years the beautiful Fairy Possum has lived deep in the Mountain Ash forests, the tallest flowering trees on Earth, located in Victoria's Central Highlands. But in the last 100 years its world has literally come crashing down.
Today, only the Great Forest National Park, a proposed park around the Fairy Possum's habitat, will save this defenceless creature from extinction.
With fewer than 1,500 Fairy Possums remaining in the wild, only the Great Forest National Park can deliver a fairytale ending for this gorgeous animal.
Land of Giants and Fairies
Magnificent Mountain Ash trees blanket the mountains as you approach the region proposed for the Great Forest National Park. Mountain Ash are the tallest flowering, and the tallest hardwood trees on Earth. Yet, they are not properly protected.
Mountain Ash trees can live for upwards of 400 years. They have flourished along the Great Dividing Range under rich rainfall patterns but today, they are still logged for paper pulp.
The Great Forest National Park will protect these unique forests. Amongst these flowering giants visitors will also enjoy many more examples of Victoria’s unique fauna and flora. Tree ferns that are thousands of years old, Myrtle Beech, and the world’s tallest moss are just some of the other interesting species of plants you’ll see.
Keep a keen eye out for lyrebirds, wallabies, flame robins, gliders, and a host of other species that call this region home.
An opportunity for growth.
Not just for the trees either! The proposed Great Forest National Park will create new jobs and opportunities for local communities in regional Victoria.
The Great Forest National Park will be an opportunity for Victoria’s State Government to invest in the state’s environmental future and show the world what first class parks management looks like.
Overland walking tracks, wildlife surveys, family accommodation in eco-lodges and opportunities to see spectacular scenery from your mountain bike or your cross country skis, will make this reserve system jobs rich and deliver real economic returns to the region.
Jobs will be created through well-resourced parks management - including mitigating fire risk and protecting biodiversity. With more than 3 million people visiting the region annually already, there is plenty of interest in what nature-based tourism has to offer both day trippers from Melbourne and international visitors.
As the world moves toward a carbon trading future, protecting some of the most carbon dense forests on the planet is an economic opportunity that the State Government can not afford to ignore.
There is a growing movement of Victorians who are getting behind the Great Forest National Park - Victoria’s next great national park.
We've got a new State Government. It is now time for a new National Park.