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Opinion Piece - The Central Highlands – Melbourne’s Mountain Forest Sanctuary

Healesville was once (1980’s) sign-posted on the road in from Yarra Glen…

‘HEALESVILLE - GATEWAY TO MELBOURNE’S MOUNTAIN FOREST SANCTUARY’

Road maps used to show (1970’s) the State Forest of the region as the ‘Central Highlands Sanctuary.’

We hope the past sentiments that evidently valued the beauty and natural history aspects of the area will be reaffirmed in the near future.

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mt st leondards

Image 1 - Mt St Leonard:  Height 1027 metres, is the tallest mountain within 60 km radius of  Melbourne. The profile shown here is as it was before recent logging. Photograph – B. Mace

This forested beauty is the visual backdrop to Healesville, and is visible from many vantage points from the suburbs of Melbourne to the Yarra Valley wineries. The forested flanks of the mountain were burned in the February 2009 fires, but thankfully, most of the trees survived and retain their beautiful green canopy and provide a refuge for the wildlife that also survived the fires.

mt st leonard coupe

Image 2 – Profile of Mt St Leonard: (from Healesville Primary School) 23 June 2010  Photograph – B. Mace

VicForests logging of a coupe on the north side of Monda Track in August 2008, scarred the mountain from the Toolangi viewpoint but was not visible from Healesville. Following recent additional logging of the same coupe (May 2010), despite requests and protests to VicForests to respect the visual amenity of the mountain vista around Healesville and the Yarra Valley, as well as the entrance to the Bicentennial National Trail, a buffer of trees was removed from the side of Monda Track, and the coupe was further enlarged. This action made the logging clearly visible from the main street of Healesville. The tourism values of the region were not respected by Vicforests.

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