APPEAL TO STOP GRAMPIANS NATIONAL PARK CLIMBING BAN
A petition has recently been created to stop climbing bans across large areas of the Grampians National Park in Australia. This until further consultation can take place.
The Grampians, located in the west of the State of Victoria, are a special and rugged range of hills, a famous National Park and contain some of Australia’s most established and highly regarded rock climbing areas.
The organisers of the petition, CliffCare, write: Issues of cultural heritage are always complex, and this is definitely not a case of climbers wanting to do what they want at the expense of cultural sites. The land manager Parks Victoria have opted for blanket bans of large areas citing cultural and environmental protection. This has been done with no consultation with climbers, and there has been no comment from Aboriginal Victoria. As a user group, climbers are very respectful of all of these issues. We need open communication between these communities to ensure sensitive sites are protected, and that climbers can continue to interact with this magical place.
In sharing the petition, focussed on the lack of prior consultation and engagement by the Park authority with the local climbing community, the UIAA is satisfied that CliffCare, and the climbers it represents, are concerned with – and respectful for – local Aboriginal values, an important matter which has not always been given due attention during other access disputes across Oceania.
If you wish to support the petition you can do so from the following link.
In the coming weeks, the UIAA will profile its only full member association in Oceania, the New Zealand Alpine Club (NZAC), with access one of the key topics of this article.
UPDATE, 29 March 2019
The UIAA recently received the following updated from CliffCare regarding the petition’s progress:
Thank you for your support. There have been some positive developments recently with support from politicians and the potential for a direct line of communication between climbers and Traditional Owners. However, it is still a long road ahead to negotiate with the land manager Parks Victoria, and the petition will help demonstrate that rock climbers should be regarded as an important user group.
Main Image: Stock Library