Introduction In 1987 Sherbrooke Forest, Doongalla Reserve and Ferntree Gully National Park were combined to form Dandenong Ranges National Park. Covering 3215 hectares, the park plays an important role in protecting a population of famous lyrebirds and other fauna, as well as protecting the forests and fern gullies of the Ranges. Since June 1997 Olinda State Forest Dandenong Ranges N.P and the Mt Evelyn Forest have also been included in Dandenong Ranges National Park. Bushwalking Things to Do Tourist rides on “Puffing Billy” steam train Scenic drives through the Ranges are just as popular now as they have been for many years. Enjoy a picnic at the Fern Tree Gully Picnic Ground or at One Tree Hill or in Sherbrooke Forest. Near the park are coffee shops and restaurants, bed and breakfasts, craft shops, antique shops, gardens and the historic Puffing Billy train from Belgrave to Gembrook. Numerous walking tracks are excellent for short family strolls or longer hikes Coffee shops, craft, gifts and galleries. Heritage Originally used by the Bunurong and Woewurrong Aboriginal tribes, the Ranges became an important source of timber for early Melbourne and much of the forest was cleared. Farming became established late last century as roads and railways were built. The 'Puffing Billy' narrow-gauge line from Ferntree Family Picnics and Gully to Gembrook was opened in 1900. BBQ’s Scenic drivers are seen in autumn because of the coloured European trees that line the road. The area became popular with tourists from the 1870s onwards; Fern Tree Gully was first reserved as a park in 1882 and other areas followed. The present national park was established in 1987. Some of the heritage of the Dandenongs is depicted in paintings by famous artists such as Sir Arthur Streeton. Reproductions of their works can be found on signs in the park and around the Ranges. Fauna The park is rich in wildlife with 130 native bird species, 31 native mammals, 21 reptiles and nine amphibian species recorded. Leadbeaters Possum Laughing Kookaburra The Superb Lyrebird is its most famous inhabitant. People the world over are fascinated by the ability of this bird to mimic the calls of other bird species, and by the dancing display and beautiful tail of the male. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Crimson Rosellas, Laughing Kookaburras, Eastern Yellow Robins, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and Pied Currawongs are some of the native birds most frequently seen in the park. Heavily-scarred eucalypt trees are evidence of the night-time feeding of Yellow-bellied Gliders, and tiny Feather-tail Gliders make their homes in the hollows of mature trees. Tree Goannas can also be found in the park. Ringtail Possum Lyrebird Vegetation The plant communities in the park are remnants of the original vegetation that has receded over the last 150 years with the rapid growth of Melbourne's suburbs. Mountain Ash Tree fern gully Dandenong Ranges National Park has six major vegetation communities in which about 400 indigenous plant species occur. The park is particularly well known for its spectacular Mountain Ash forests and fern gullies. Moss Other vegetation communities include Cool Temperate Rainforest, Box Stringybark Woodland, Riparian Forest, Mountain Grey Gum -Messmate Forest and Sclerophyll Woodland. The park supports significant plants such as the Slender Tree-fern and Summer Spider Orchid. Fire plays an important role in the ecology of the vegetation and is an ongoing issue for residents of the Ranges. Riparian forest Looking After the Park Dogs and other pets are not permitted within park boundaries. Messmate gully Firearms are not permitted. Electric/gas barbecues are available in the Fern Tree Gully Picnic Ground, and in Grants, Sherbrooke, O'Donohue and One Tree Hill picnic grounds. Please stay on marked tracks. Do not disturb or remove any plants or animals. Please take all rubbish home - no bins are provided. No pets How to Get There The 40 kilometre drive from Melbourne via Burwood Highway or Canterbury Road is approximately 1 hour. Alternatively, take the train to Upper Ferntree Gully or Belgrave station. Melway maps 52, 65, 74, 75, 120 and 122 give additional details. No bins so no rubbish Change in Forest Environments: Bushfires Devastated habitat Burnt kangaroo 1997 - 21 January Five major fires broke out including fires in the Dandenong Ranges that caused three fatalities, destroyed 41 houses and burnt 400 hectares. Other areas affected include Arthurs Seat, Eildon State Park, Gippsland and Creswick. In areas bordered by the tall forests the threat of severe bushfire means constant vigilance by all country communities. Many believe insufficient fuel reduction burning of Crown forests means another summer catastrophe is inevitable. “I was in Ash Wednesday, we lost our house, our house was totally clear, but the fireballs coming through the trees were sointense there was no way you were going to stop it no matter what, unless you cleared totally for hundreds of metres around your house”, one land owner told ABC’s Landline program. Firefighter Regenerating Eucalypts Wildlife Rescue Fire scientist Kevin Tolhurst has so far analysed 1500 native species from information gained from past fires. The Department (Department of Sustainability and Environment) is devising a database for an estimated 5,000 types of plants, determining the optimum frequency and intensity of the fires that they require. Hakea pods open Loss of property “We might not burn the acreage that used to be burnt, but we burn in very strategic areas so that we have our zone ones protecting townships, we have our zone twos to create some corridors and even along private property and we do get some of that old mosaic with our zone threes, perhaps not as much as that mosaic effect that we referred to with the Aboriginal or some of the previous burning on top of that,” he said. “We also have some zone four which is ecological burning so that if they've got a rare or threatened species that actually needs fire for its survival, we can actually apply fire in that particular area to help that particular species." Silvan Dam Silvan Dam Heritage In 1914 a severe drought prompted the search for extra water supplies for Melbourne. By 1917 a suitable site for a storage reservoir was located near the township of Silvan which lay across the Stonyford Creek. Water for Silvan Reservoir would come almost entirely from other reservoirs (mainly the O'Shannassy) as Silvan Reservoir's water catchment was quite small. Construction commenced on the outlet channel and stilling basins in 1926. In 1927 the main construction began. All good timber was cleared from the catchment. This consisted mainly of messmate and grey gum which was used for the construction of camps and offices. All other vegetation was then cleared to approximately 10 metres above the high water level to ensure maximum water quality. By 1928 building of the dam wall had commenced. Once complete it would measure 644 metres long at its crest, 219 metres wide at its base and 43 metres high Silvan Reservoir commenced water storage in June, 1931. By December of that year, Silvan was holding three-quarters of its maximum capacity. The dam was officially opened on 7 July, Today Silvan Reservoir receives its water supply from the Thomson, Upper Yarra and O'Shannassy Reservoirs. In turn, Silvan Reservoir supplies domestic water to many of Melbourne's suburbs and other large off-stream storage reservoirs such as Cardinia and Greenvale. Back-burning a firebreak Fauna Urbanisation, widespread clearance of native vegetation and the construction of the reservoir has had a dramatic effect on the abundance and diversity of native fauna in the park. Other impacts on native fauna in this area includes competition and predation from introduced animals such as the fox, rabbit and cat. These introduced vermin have also caused widespread destruction of habitat as a result of their behaviour. Feral Fox Silvan Reservoir Park is home to a number of native mammals such as the short-beaked echidna, common brushtail and ringtail possums, sugar glider and the common wombat. These are found in the forested areas of the Stonyford Creek. A variety of bat species also inhabit areas of Silvan Reservoir Park. Silvan Reservoir Park is frequented by a diverse range of birds. Herons, spoonbills, duck species, rosellas, wedge-tailed eagles, thornbills, treecreepers, robins, owls and cockatoo species can all be observed. Feral Cat Vegetation The picnic grounds of Silvan Reservoir Park are approximately 20 ha in size and consist mainly of exotic and non-indigenous vegetation, representing the cultural history of the area. Created in the 1930's, the gardens were designed to reflect a European style. Cypress, spruce, liquidamber, poplar, and maples are just some of the beautiful exotic trees you will see at Silvan Reservoir Park. The Stonyford Creek area consists of remnant native vegetation, ranging from typical riparian to a drier open forest vegetation type. Dominant species within this area include peppermint and messmate eucalypts, grey gums, wattles, banksias and native grasses. A variety of fern species are also common along the creek banks. Ring tailed possum Common wombat QUESTIONS FROM PAGE ONE. 1.When was the Dandenong Ranges National Park formed?Why do you think they combined the forest and the parks? Guess. 2. What do the parks protect? 3.List activitites enjoyed by tourists. 4. Fill in the table below. List how the region was used by humans before the park was formed and judge level of destruction caused by this activity Human activity Destructive Level (/10) FROM PAGE TWO 5. The park is “rich” in wildlife. What do you expect this to mean? 6.What is the park’s most famous bird inhabitant? 7.Remnant vegetation means remains of the original. What could have got rid of the rest? 8.List the major vegetation communities in the park? FROM PAGE THREE 9. When was the last major bushfire in the park ? How much damage did it do? 10. Fuel reduction burns means a controlled burn-off of dry grass and undergrowth before the fire season. Is this a good idea? Explain. 11. Why is burning-ff during fuel reduction burns not always enough to save houses? FROM PAGE FOUR 12. Why is fire important to hakeas ? 13.List the 4 burning zones managed by the park? 14.Why was the Silvan Dam built? Do we have similar problems today? Explain. 15. What was cleared from the region before the dam was built? How would this effect the habitats of local animals (fauna)? FROM PAGE FIVE 16.What three human activities have had a dramatic effect on native animals found in the dam’s park? 17. What impact have introduced animals had on the park? 18.Which of the native animals listed could be harmed by feral foxes and cats? 19. The picnic grounds vegetation is exotic European trees. Could this be harmful to local animals? Explain. 20. Silvan Dam supplies water to Melbourne. Why is management of this park so important to us here in Hobson’s Bay?