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Planning the Future of Victoria’s Alpine National Parks
The Victorian Government is using an innovative online platform to shape its vision for Victoria's Alpine National Parks.
Victorian Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings has explained that Parks Victoria is using wikis, blogs and interactive web-based mapping in the development of the next management plan for the National Heritage Listed Alpine Country.
As Minister Jennings stated, "with many of the existing management plans in the area due for review, the Alpine Parks Management Plan will include the Alpine, Baw Baw, Mount Buffalo, Errinundra and Snowy River national parks as well as the Avon Wilderness Park, Walhalla and adjacent historic parks â an area totalling over 860,000 hectares.
"There have been a number of significant changes in the parks, including climate change, wildfires, removal of grazing, diversified recreation/tourism and increased recognition of Traditional Owners.
"Ours parks are an integral part of the landscape, underpinning the health of the environment and the health of communities.
"Landscape-scale planning will assist in addressing the major challenges including climate change, fire, pests and water availability."
There are a number of new initiatives to increase the level of community involvement in the Alpine planning process.
A project website called wePlan Alpine has been created incorporating the innovative communications applications.
As Minister Jennings adds, "the blog will enable anyone who is interested in the parks to contribute their ideas and opinions.
"They can make contact with other people and members can talk with experts, other interested parties or with the Parks Victoria planning team."
A wiki will be used to create the draft plan in mid-2009. This document will allow the community to contribute to the editing of the plan. Parks Victoria will complete a table of contents and some basic information, while the community will be able to edit the majority of the plan.
Another of the online tools is the Public Participatory Geographic Information System, which is an exciting and interactive web-based program where members can identify and map the places they value and identify management issues.
A series of Community Open House events will be held in the study area, while local ranger staff will liaise with the community throughout the process. Parks Victoria's local offices will be open to discuss ideas about the planning process or the plan and to access the website.
For more information go to www.weplan.parks.vic.gov.au
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