What Klaus Hueneke doesn't know about the Australia Alps is writ small. His love affair with the rooftop of the nation began more than 60 years ago.
Ten boxes crammed with the prolific German-born author's letters, notes and diaries were archived by the National Library in 2007, and five years later he was named a Member of the Order of Australia.
The latter acknowledged Hueneke's service not only to conservation and the environment as an oral historian and author, but to the preservation of Australia's "built heritage".
Indeed his true passion is for the preservation of scores of timber and pressed-iron huts dotted throughout the high country, many of them crafted by the pioneers of the region's bygone pastoral era.
Yet in the fierce and ongoing debate over the proliferation in Kosciuszko National Park of wild horses said to have descended from that same era, Hueneke stands with those who want the brumbies banished.
Arguments about the heritage of the stockman's steed are a modern construct and one that is "almost meaningless", he says.
Back in the days when the crack of the whip echoed throughout the hills, he insists the brumbies were fit only for "running into the ground, feeding to the dogs, taking to the knackery, or, at best, a pony for the kids".
To those who see the horses as icons of the cultural atlas inspired by Banjo Patterson's Man from Snowy River and the like, them's fightin' words.
Yet for Hueneke and countless others of the conservationist view, the brumbies are feral intruders responsible for the destruction of Australia's unique and vulnerable alpine ecosystem.
Amid the two diametrically opposed positions, both steeped in emotion, middle ground in the dispute is elusive.
Yet it seems NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean has set his sights on finding it.
"I recognise there are very strong and diverse views on this issue," he says.
"But at the heart of these views is a common desire to sustainably manage the park for the future."
Kean says horse numbers will be cut from 14,000 to 3000 by mid 2027 under a draft management plan that would allow a "sustainable" population to remain in 32 per cent of the park.
They'll be removed from 21 per cent of Kosciuszko and kept out of the remaining 47 per cent, which is currently brumby free.
Hueneke, however, is unmoved.
"To my mind, the frenzy of wild horse worship over the last 30 or so years has occurred hand in hand with an increase in recreational and commercial riding in the park," he says.
"It does not spring from the 'pastoral associations' that the Draft Plan uses to justify its horse retention zones."
Reclaim Kosci, which has just concluded a campaign to encourage public submissions aimed at changing Kean's mind, doesn't expressly say so but no doubt also wants the horses completely removed.
The group advocates rapid population reduction, equine-free wilderness areas and the elimination of all feral horse damage.
In a short space of time it managed to collect more than 4000 followers, some unquestionably well qualified.
The Australian Academy of Science argues that Kean's 3000-horse target is too high.
It recently served him with an open letter boasting 69 signatories which said "alpine wetlands continue to degrade even with very small numbers of feral horses".
Kosciuszko, it says, "cannot begin to recover from drought, extensive bushfires and overgrazing if, as currently proposed, 3000 feral horses remain".
Reclaim Kosci says 23 native plant species are under threat as a result of the overgrazing and trampling presence of the brumbies, as are 11 native animals.
They include Australia's most alpine-adapted fish stocky galaxias, the endangered Riek's crayfish, alpine sphagnum bogs and fens and the broad-toothed rat, Mastacomys fuscus.
Leading ecologist David Watson, who quit the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee in 2018 over the government's position on Kosciuszko, says it couldn't have picked a worse place to let horses roam.
Yet for pro-brumby campaigner Leisa Caldwell, the scientific community commands an unhealthy audience.
She recently told the ABC she questioned the expertise of academics who've "gone to university for a few years" against people who've lived in the mountains for generations.
Snowy Mountains Brumby Sustainability and Management Group president Alan Lanyon agrees.
Like the conservationists, he's opposed to a brumby population target of 3000 but only because he insists numbers are already lower than that anyway.
Simple maths, he says, confirms less than 2000 at best, while his group's own count is fewer than 1000.
Lanyon refers to his Facebook followers as "true blues" while lashing the anti-brumby lobby for wanting to unleash "aerial gunships", a reference to proposed shooting culls of the horses.
Not all locals feel the same way though.
Cooma-born Mick Pfahl's grandparents owned land at Eucumbene and he now runs 180 hectares at Yaouk, bordering the national park.
"In my early teens, one of my proudest moments was winning an event at the Royal Easter Show, on a re-homed brumby," he says.
"So I know and love horses and it's because I know their effect on the land and the soil, that my submission suggests the draft plan should have a long-term aim of zero horses in Kosciuszko.
"The most humane solution is for a team of professional marksmen to eliminate the horses in a quiet, respectful and organised manner. My family of five agree."
Some 340 park horses were trapped and re-homed last year, hardly effective against a population of 14,000.
Kean says he recognises the "genuine affection and cultural values" many attach to the brumbies and animal welfare remains the priority in deciding what to do with them.
Shooting from the air is off the table although mustering to remove them for domestication, shooting or euthanising them in yards, or tranquillising and hauling them off to a knackery seemingly is not.
Hueneke's countless recorded interviews with old timer settlers that would eventually become his life's work began in the 1970s and were poured into his seminal Huts of the High Country.
First published in 1982 and still in print, the text celebrates not only the dwellings themselves but the lives of the stockmen and prospectors who who built them.
However in all his years spent documenting Australia's pastoral era, Hueneke says he barely encountered a word of support among mountain people for the legitimacy of Kosciuszko's brumby population.
"Perhaps in passing during an interview, that's all," he says.
"There was no controversy, no hand wringing."
Wild horses are to be totally removed from Victoria's Bogong High Plains and significantly reduced in the state's eastern Alps, while the ACT has declared zero tolerance towards the brumbies in its national parks.
Kean needs to consider a still-to-be-prepared report on the public submissions received in response to the NSW draft plan along with other advice, before deciding whether a policy change is merited.
Asked by AAP what his timeline was, he declined to say.
Australian Associated Press