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Further Threats to Access for Australia's Grampians

© Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing

The saga in Australia's Grampians/Gariwerd National Park continues as Parks Victoria have released a draft of their management plan for the area. This is in response to calls to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage and safeguard the Grampians/Gariwerd's landscape for future generations. If the plan is adopted, it would mean that access to roughly 80% of the existing climbing would be banned and a near-total ban on bouldering areas would be enforced.

Ben Bransby on Eau Rouge (23) at The Lost World  © Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing
Ben Bransby on Eau Rouge (23) at The Lost World
© Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing, Oct 2014

Vertical Life Magazine have critically analysed the draft proposals from a climber's perspective and argue that the plan is a 'policy failure.' They state there has been a complete lack of consultation with climbers throughout the process, who would reportedly be willing to work with the park authority to create a solution that protects the cultural heritage of the park.

The draft plan has several inconsistencies, including the lack of oversight for walkers and birdwatchers who will still be allowed to travel off official footpaths, while climbers will be banned from doing so. Furthermore, climbers are the only group that will be required to register for permits.

Parks Victoria's policy on banning crags is often based on the proximity to Aboriginal sites, but their lack of in-depth knowledge of specific crags means that in some cases, crags that are hundreds of metres from such sites are included in the ban, according to Vertical Life Magazine. An analogy in the UK would be enforcing a ban of the whole of Stanage to protect a small section of Stanage North.

The plan also includes hints at future commercialisation of the park, including the creation of a permanent footpath for walkers, campsites and cabins - a policy that only makes the park available for those willing to pay, but still comes with the environmental impact that climbers have routinely been singled-out for causing.

While climbers must take responsibility for several issues including erosion of paths, use of chalk and uncontrolled bolting, there has been little effort to engage with the climbing community, according to Vertical Life Magazine and Australian climbing organisations.

The Australian Climbing Association Victoria (ACAV) say they have 'major concerns over these proposals' and have 'made a number of recommendations [...] in-line with international precedent and best practice for climbing and bouldering management around the world.'

ACAV are also appealing to climbers worldwide to help by downloading a template word document, writing down concerns and sending it to Parks Victoria by Sunday 24th January.

Download the template here

Email: parkplan@parks.vic.gov.au

There is a petition to sign here

Keep up to date with news on the situation on verticallifemag.com.au


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Emailed Parks Victoria.

Let's go people! fill up their inbox!!!

22 Jan

There's is also a very thorough response here, which seeks to help improve the management plan by addressing the problematic issues one by one.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/grampiansbouldering/permalink/3781042105313652/

Easy to add your name in support, just leave a message in the comments.

22 Jan

Done. Let's fill their inboxes indeed!

22 Jan
I can't help thinking that insisting on the right to bush camp is separate to the climbing bit, and not very helpful. However I'm not local so it might be important?

Also chalk use only to be coloured chalk doesn't seem a bad thing either.

22 Jan

Sure the caption under the first photo is correct? A couple of hours ago I got almost the same photograph from a friend and the caption says it is his son climbing Eau Rouge ( 26)?

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