Following last week’s severe wind storm, I surveyed damage to the Wallaby Track between Mollongghip and Wombat Dam. I walked, climbed and scrambled over and under countless trees which had been blown down over the track. The damage is hard to believe. I was absolutely stunned by what I found. In places, I couldn’t even find the track because it was buried!
The map reproduced here shows a red star for the most substantial track blockages caused by fallen trees. The stars indicate only the points of major damage because lesser blockages were so numerous that they would be indistinguishable at the map scale from adjacent blockages. Many, perhaps most, blockages consisted of several trees which had fallen in the same place, sometimes five deep.
All of these blockages require chain saw work to remove them. In some cases, heavy machinery will be required. It will probably take many weeks or even months to re-open the track for walkers, runners and riders. In the meantime it is just not possible to use this section of track.
The damage seems to have been worst along the Great Divide. Sections of the track further to the north may have been protected to some extent from the strong south-westerly winds.
The Wombat State Forest and Lerderderg State Park are closed while Parks Victoria and DELWP survey the damage. GDTA volunteers will be walking the tracks to survey and report damage as soon as the relevant land managers advise that it is safe to do so.
If you have an opportunity to (safely) walk some sections of the GDTN, please report the condition of the section to email@example.com. Report sections that are clear as well as sections that have been damaged. Information on current conditions will be updated on our website as it becomes available. See www.gdt.org.au/circuit-walks-rides.
Bill Casey is a committee member and surveyor for the Great Dividing Trail Association.
This is an edited version of a story first published in the GDTA POST. It is reproduced here with permission.