Mist lingers in the high country forest of Alpine National Park. Every feature of these distinctive snow gums, from their contorted limbs to their brash streaks of colour, speaks character. These trees have stood firm against wind, rain and snow. But one thing is harder to withstand. Since this photo was taken, vast fires have swept through the area. It will take a long time to recreate some of these special scenes. The tragedy is that so much of the destruction by fire could be prevented. If the high country cattlemen hadn’t been locked out of these areas – the very areas they once made legendary – the forests would be far better cared for than today. In many cases, national parks authorities simply do not have sufficient resources to manage such huge swathes of land. I hope that good sense will once again prevail. I am one of many people fighting for more open use of national parks, so that they can be managed more effectively in the future.