REGION - Vic Roads and Parks Victoria have re-opened the Northern Grampians / Mount Victory Road ahead of the long weekend which has been closed since January as a result of the Northern Grampians Fire.
Last week VicRoads completed works to manage hazardous trees, along the Northern Grampians Road.
Working in tandem with VicRoads, Parks Victoria has undertaken tree risk and initial recovery work to enable a partial re-opening of the popular Zumsteins Picnic Area and a number of roads and tracks within the Grampians National Park.
"Ensuring the roads are safe for traffic is our priority" Ewen Nevett, VicRoads Regional Director, Western Victoria said.
"Re-opening the Northern Grampians Road re-establishes an important link between the fire affected communities of Wartook and Laharum in the west of the Grampians and the community of Halls Gap in the east" he said.
From this weekend, visitors to the Grampians National Park will be able to drive through the Victoria Valley or Asses Ears areas or stop for a picnic at Zumsteins, where barbecue and toilet facilities have been re-opened.
However Zumsteins Pise cottages are closed due to fire damaged infrastructure.
The MacKenzie River Walk between MacKenzie Falls and Zumsteins Picnic ground (via Fish Falls) is also closed due to unsafe track conditions.
"It will take some time for us to assess the safety risks that are still unfolding post fire along the Mackenzie River Walk" David Roberts, Ranger in Charge, Grampians National Park said.
"With the loss of vegetation, rainfall will determine how much movement we are likely to see in soils and rocks above the walking track" he said.
Mr Roberts said MacKenzie Falls also remains closed due to significant fire damage. This site will take some time to repair before being safe to reopen to visitors.
"We're asking visitors to stay out of the area and not stop near the falls along the Northern Grampians Road. "There are many hazards within these closed sites such as dangerous trees, unstable soils and damaged infrastructure. The environment also needs time to recover" Mr Roberts said.
Road and tracks re-opening in the fire affected area of the park this weekend include Wallaby Rocks Road, Asses Ears Road, Rose Creek Road, Taylors Track, Hines Track and Launders 4WD track.
While these roads and tracks have been treated for tree risk, road surface conditions may be below usual standards due to dry weather and increased traffic from fire fighting vehicles. Please obey speed signs and drive carefully.
Many other fire affected roads in the Grampians National Park north of the Northern Grampians Road (including Wartook road) remain closed. To view all road closures in the area, please refer to the VicTraffic website at http://traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au.
For updates on the many camping, walking and driving opportunities that are open in the Grampians National Park, call into Brambuk, the National Park and Cultural Centre in Halls Gap, visit the local Visitor Information Centre or call Parks Victoria on 13 19 63 or visit www.parkweb.vic.gov.au.