Local ranger shares 30-year anniversary with state park
Friday 29 June, 2018
Lerderderg State Park celebrates its 30th birthday this month, a milestone more than matched by a dedicated local ranger who has helped to manage its 20,000 hectares.
Born-and-bred in Bacchus Marsh, Charles Dickie has worked in the area’s parks and reserves for 38-years, including the past three decades at the state park that he calls ‘magical’.
“I’ve become very attached to the park over the past 30 years,” Charles says.
“A walk in its gorge is a magical experience, and to think that you’re within an hour of Melbourne is hard to believe.”
Beyond the gorge are many other walking opportunities, which range “from easy strolls to some lung-busting day walks,” according to Charles.
While its old-growth forests and rugged terrain make the park landscape appear untouched, it has benefited from human effort over the years, including through land conservation, habitat protection, weed treatment and pest animal control programs. A conservation program to protect the park from the impact of feral goats is currently underway.
This often unseen work, by park rangers like Charles, has helped keep Lerderderg State Park a healthy home for many plants and animals. More than 130 species of birds and 370 species of native plants have been recorded in the park, as well as koalas, wallabies, echidnas, greater gliders, mountain brushtail possums, and the threatened Brush-tailed Phascogale.
During his 30-years at Lerderderg, Charles has also spent time protecting the park from the impact of people, particularly those who illegally dump rubbish.
“Unfortunately, we do spend valuable time and resources cleaning up rubbish in our parks and reserves.”
“This takes away time and money that rangers would prefer to spend on productive activities such as maintaining walking tracks and improving park services for visitors."
A highlight of Charles’s career remains his time on firefighting duty, which is one of the lesser-known roles of many park rangers. Parks Victoria rangers perform important firefighting tasks to protect local communities from bushfires, and they work closely with other government agencies to help improve the public’s understanding of fires.
“Although it can be very tough work, the camaraderie you experience on a fire-line is special and the work is extremely satisfying,” Charles says.
Established in June 1988, Lerderderg State Park initially covered 13,000-hectares of land. Four subsequent additions saw the park eventually grow to its current size.
A range of walking, picnicking, scenic driving and swimming opportunities are on offer, and overnight camping is available at the recently created Lerderderg Campground. For more information, visit www.parks.vic.gov.au
Media enquiriesJosh Maher
0448 373 986
Parks Victoria media centre