We contend that climbing is a legitimate, low impact activity that should be permitted and encouraged as a way for people to enjoy the natural environment.
The following concerns are not being dealt with adequately by Parks Victoria, and we contend that ‘blanket bans’ are being imposed without any consideration for individual sites, and the demonstrated ability of climbers to self-regulate.
- Simon Talbot in his statement to 3AW blamed the placement of bolts next to Rock Art. Although this did occur in an isolated incident, the offending bolts were removed immediately, and the action condemned by the climbing community.
- Climbers main concern is that whole areas are being closed down which feature no cultural sites, and are more than 50 km’s away from the Black Range site.
- Climbers are generally extremely respectful of aboriginal heritage and culture, and have shown willingness to work with traditional owners in the past.
- Environmental concerns such as erosion around bouldering areas is an entirely different issue, and not related to the majority of the “Special Reference Zones”.
Below is an example of a letter that can be sent to politicians (your MP, the local members in the Grampians Region, to the environment minister & to the Premier of Victoria etc):
RE: Recent Rock Climbing Bans in the Grampians National Park
I would like to seek your assistance in support of rock climbing within the Grampians National Park.
During recent months, rocks climbers have been excluded from some highly significant areas of the National Park over allegations of cultural or environmental damage. It is my view that these issues have been wildly exaggerated as part of a bureaucratic campaign by Parks Victoria to exclude climbers for some reason. It has been disturbing to find that Parks Victoria has not consulted with the climbing community or the well-established Victoria Climbing Club. We have enjoyed a strong working relationship with Parks Victoria for over 30 years, with many examples of wonderful cooperation over this time. This has included warm liaison with the aboriginal groups in the local area, including cross-cultural sharing of issues and experiences.
The rock climbing community is widespread and is highly sensitive to environmental and cultural matters. Rock climbers have been guardians of this natural environment for decades. Many rock climbers have moved to the Grampians / Wimmera region over the years, building careers, raising families and contributing millions to the regional economy. The town of Natimuk is a strong example of the benefits brought about by this healthy and motivated population group. There is a risk that these communities will collapse if rock climbing bans are introduced.
The Grampians is a magnificent international rock climbing destination on the bucket list of rock climbers from all over the world. The recent action by Parks Victoria has turned away many international climbers. We are a well-travelled community with a worldwide focus. It has been heartbreaking for us to tell our international climbing friends not to book a trip of a lifetime to the Grampians.
There are also significant issues over personal freedoms in a park that has been set aside for the nation. We seek shared access for all in this magnificent landscape.
To assist us in redressing this balance, I would like your support to lobby for proper consultation with climbers during forthcoming working group negotiations involving Parks Victoria and Aboriginal Victoria to create the 2019 Grampians Management Plan. Please let me know if there is any way that you can assist.
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