Overview

In 2017, the state government set aside $2.3 million to ensure that the 6,510-hectares of heathlands are protected and enjoyed as an important natural, social and community asset.

In consultation with the community, Parks Victoria will be developing an Implementation Plan for the Great Otway National Park (Anglesea Heath). The plan will guide management and future use of the area. A key outcome is to increase protection of the heath’s environmental and cultural values, while supporting suitable community activities.

How do you see the Great Otway National Park (Anglesea Heath) supporting the community into the future? The community is invited to share its views on the future use of this special area.

Parks Victoria is planning to improve opportunities and build facilities for suitable recreation opportunities. Community views are being sought on how the area can be used for recreation and community enjoyment. Decisions will be underscored by the need to protect the national park.

The Great Otway National Park (Anglesea Heath) is one of the richest and most biodiverse areas in the state. It accounts for one quarter of Victoria’s plant species, and provides habitat for 29 recorded mammal species and more than 100 native bird species.

View summaries of the proposed changes below (to view the position papers in full see Document Library) and complete the survey to tell us your preference for the Heath. When you have completed the survey, please press 'submit'.

View summaries of the proposed changes/position papers here

What is proposed and why

Parks Victoria is proposing three sites for bushwalking. The main proposal is the Heathland Bushwalking Trail. The majority of this trail will be accessed only by bushwalkers, with a small section to be shared with mountain bikers on the Alcoa Boundary Track. As well as providing access to the management vehicle track, it will include a remote section of existing trail on the western side of Bald Hills Road (formerly Salt Creek Track).

This 5 km circuit walk will be easily accessed from the Anglesea township and features a viewing platform on the Alcoa Boundary Track, providing bushwalkers with sweeping views of the heathlands.

A longer bushwalk of 8 km is also proposed, connecting to future visitor sites and tracks identified in the Anglesea Futures Land Use Framework and Alcoa’s Mine Rehabilitation and Closure Plan.

Two other bushwalking opportunities are also proposed. Harrisons Track South Shared Use Trail will be shared with mountain bikers while Haggarts Bushwalking Circuit will be in part shared with mountain bikers and will connect to the former rifle range (a potential site for visitor facilities, as discussed in the Visitor Facilities Position Paper).

It is important that bushwalking trails in the Anglesea Heath readily connect to areas accessed by the community – both now and in the future. The proposed trails will use existing tracks and be serviced by infrastructure designed to minimise environmental and visual impacts. The location of all proposed trails and associated facilities are shown on the attached map.

How these changes may affect you

Proposed changes to the track network will reduce public vehicle access to three tracks in order to provide a safe and appropriate area for bushwalking and other active recreation, such as mountain biking. The Mountain Biking Position Paper and the Trail Biking and Four Wheel Driving Position Paper provide information on how these activities will be affected by the proposed changes.

Parks Victoria is undertaking the following projects and works to conserve the Anglesea Heath:

  • Cinnamon Fungus threat mapping and the development of management recommendations
  • Biodiversity study with Museum Victoria to improve understanding of ecological values
  • Increased compliance programs and activity, with a strong focus on illegal track development and use in fragile heathlands
  • Cultural Heritage investigation to enhance future management and cultural connection
  • Rehabilitation and revegetation of redundant tracks as well as sections of the extensive illegal informal track network (see the Trail Biking and Four Wheel Drive Position Paper)
  • Strategic control of pest plants such as Boneseed,Coast Wattle, Blackberry, Bluebell Creeper and Coastal Teatree, which pose a serious threat to areas of high biodiversity value (see map)
  • Sensitive design and placement of capital works in areas with existing disturbance footprints
  • An education and awareness program with the main park user groups to encourage appropriate behaviours within the Anglesea Heath
  • Improved park and interpretive signage for visitors to create awareness on how people can sustainably enjoy the park.
  • What is proposed and why

    Horse riding will continue to be permitted on open roads and tracks in the Anglesea Heath. Some changes to the road and track network are proposed following a review of the network by Parks Victoria.

    These changes will affect several groups of users in the Anglesea Heath, including horse riders.

    Additional information is provided on the attached map as well as in the Trail Biking and Four Wheel Driving Position Paper.

    There is no proposed change to access at the Gherang Gherang Bushland Reserve and within the block of Great Otway National Park bounded by, Portreath and Gundry’s roads, where horse riding is permitted on management vehicle only tracks.

    To better guide where and how horse riding is undertaken, Parks Victoria will work with riders to review the information and educational signage in the Anglesea Heath and on adjacent land managed by Parks Victoria.

    How these changes may affect you

    Horse riding will continue to be supported on the legal road and track network (i.e. open roads and tracks that vehicles can access). Access will also be maintained within the parcel of land bounded by Forest, Portreath and Gundry’s roads and within Gherang Gherang Bushland Reserve.

    Proposed changes to the road network in the Anglesea Heath will reduce horse riding access in selected areas detailed in the map. In some cases, this will improve access for other user groups, such as bushwalkers and mountain bikers. Further details are provided in the Bushwalking and Mountain Biking Proposed Changes. Parks Victoria proposes to improve information and educational signage to support horse riders using the area.

    What is proposed and why

    Parks Victoria proposes to modify public vehicle access to tracks in the 110ha of Crown land known as Area 9, consistent with the Anglesea Futures Land Use Framework. This is required to enable recreation, including mountain biking, to be safely accommodated.

    Within the Anglesea Heath, Parks Victoria proposes to provide mountain bikers and bushwalkers with shared use of Haggarts Track, Harrison Track South and a section of Alcoa Boundary Track. These tracks can all be accessed by the existing road network. Please see the map below for more detail.

    How these changes may affect you

    Proposed changes to the road and track network within both Area 9 and the Great Otway National Park (Anglesea Heath) will limit the public’s ability to drive on some tracks in order to provide a safe and appropriate area for mountain biking and walking.

    What is proposed and why

    Parks Victoria is planning to close and modify vehicle access to some tracks in the Anglesea Heath.

    This rationalisation of the network aims to create a sustainable track network for vehicles which enhances emergency, visitor and management access plus protects the local environment. Refer to the map in the gallery for more detail.

    Licensed and registered trail bike and four wheel drive enthusiasts will continue to be able to use all open roads and tracks (i.e. public roads outside seasonally closed periods). Education and compliance will be strengthened to improve the safety of riders and help protect the heathlands.

    How these changes may affect you

    Proposed changes to the road network will reduce public vehicle access in selected areas. In some cases, this will improve access for other user groups, such as bushwalkers and mountain bikers. Further details are provided in the Bushwalking and Mountain Biking Proposed Changes.

    To support road users during the proposed change process, Parks Victoria will maintain access to popular roads where this can be done without compromising significant natural and cultural values.

    Parks Victoria also proposes developing a touring map to support visitors and provide information to trail bikers about more suitable areas for riding, such as Paddy’s Swamp and Otway Forest Park.

    What is proposed and why

    The old Geelong Rifle Range (pictured below) is located on Gum Flats Road, Anglesea. Parks Victoria is seeking feedback on how this five hectare site could be used in the future. The location has great potential for community benefit and options include a day use area with toilets and picnic tables, a campground or a place to set off for a bushwalk.

    Parks Victoria is proposing to provide bushwalking access to three management vehicle tracks and a 3km section of existing trail on the western side of Bald Hills Road (formerly Salt Creek Track). Together this will form the proposed Heathland Bushwalking Trail. The concept includes developing a viewing platform on the bushwalking trail (Alcoa Boundary Track), for views across the heathlands. A viewing area is also proposed on an existing cleared area at the corner of Forest Road and Powerline Track. This site is currently within Alcoa’s lease hold and is subject to planning considerations.

    Objectives for visitor use facilities

    The Anglesea Futures Land Use Framework was informed by extensive community consultation. The direction determined for the Great Otway National Park area (incorporating the Anglesea Heath) was that recreation infrastructure and facilities should be sensitively designed and located to avoid and minimise impacts on native vegetation. This includes using existing tracks and other disturbed areas, an idea which has informed Parks Victoria’s approach.

    The following objectives have been developed to manage the integration of the Anglesea Heath into the Great Otway National Park:

    1. Develop suitable visitor sites (e.g. day use or camping areas, picnic facilities, viewing platforms) that support appropriate, sustainable and safe visitor use with minimal impact on park values

    2. Establish a day visitor area or campground within the five hectare cleared site on Gum Flats Rd (old Geelong Rifle Range)

    3. Establish a viewing platform, near Bald Hills Track, that provides visitors sweeping views of the heathland and access to the proposed Heathland Bushwalking Trail.

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    Map

    Are there other areas in Anglesea Heath where bushwalking, horse riding, mountain biking, four wheel driving or trail biking activities would be suitable without compromising other park values or uses? Where?

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