The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region and Shadow Assistant Minister for Public Land Use, Melina Bath has called on the Andrews Government to urgently grade the access roads and carpark for Mt St Gwinear.
Ms Bath said the start of winter has delivered an early dump of snow in Gippsland’s alpine areas covering access roads and car parks in many of our National Parks.
“The fresh snow fall has created some excitement in Latrobe Valley and Baw Baw shire and is attracting early visitors which is great for tourism in Gippsland.
“My concerns lay with unsuspecting travellers who are unaware the current roads and car park conditions on the mountain.
“The recent snow is hiding deep ruts on Mt St Gwinear road and in the carpark in the National Park, making it dangerous for 2WD vehicles and for vehicles without snow chains.
“Until Parks Victoria grades the road for the start of the ski season, the community need to be aware of the risks.”
Ms Bath said Mt St Gwinear is popular and easily accessible local tourist attraction which is only a short 30-minute drive from the Latrobe Valley into the Baw Baw National Park.
“Local’s love visiting Mt St Gwinear, for many it’s an inexpensive fun day out, for some it’s the only place they get to experience playing in the snow.
“When the snow falls residents expect Parks Victoria has maintained the road all year round for safe access.
“What they don’t understand is, grading is generally only completed just prior to the opening of ski season and the early snowy conditions are masking dangerous obstacles underneath.
“I don’t want to see any accidents, cars damaged or worse still families trapped in the freezing alpine conditions.
“Mt St Gwinear is a wonderful destination to experience tobogganing, snowshoeing, snow camping and cross-country skiing, but visitors need to be self-sufficient and prepared for alpine conditions as it’s a National Park not a ski resort with facilities.
“My advice is if you’re unsure of the road conditions on the mountain, check in with local businesses in Erica and Rawson where you can also hire chains and grab a meal and a hot chocolate before or after your visit.
“With another wintery blast forecast next week, it would be wonderful if the Mt St Gwinear Road was graded now instead of just before the official opening of ski season in three weeks’ time.
“It’s important for people to have access to our National Parks all year round and ensure families can enjoy the snow conditions in the Baw Baw National Park safely,” said Ms Bath.