Most Victorians have never heard of Snobs Creek Falls, a 20-minute drive south of Lake Eildon, but in the past week this waterway and the surrounding forest has become a flashpoint for concerns over logging in the state’s Central Highlands.
Local residents and the Murrindindi Shire Council are urging VicForests, the state government’s logging agency, to reconsider its plans to log more than 20 timber coupes in close proximity to the creek and environmental activists have blocked the road in protest.
The council has voted to urgently contact the agency and ask that any logging at Snobs Creek cease immediately, due to concerns about the effects on the environment and local tourism.
The Rubicon region, which includes the Snobs Creek valley and nearby Mount Torbrek, has been extensively logged over the past 80 years and is among some of the most heavily logged areas in Victoria, says Chris Taylor, a research fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at Australian National University.
The area around the Snobs Creek falls is the only remaining area of mountain and alpine ash in the Rubicon region that hasn’t been logged or burnt in bushfires, he says.
“These areas are forest refuges – they are lifeboats carrying species into the future in a highly disturbed landscape. And what they are doing now is logging those lifeboats.”