“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.”
“Climbers are generally extremely respectful of aboriginal heritage and culture, and have shown willingness to work with traditional owners in the past.”
Below an two examples of letters 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), or please re-write in your own words.
Hi (INSERT NAME HERE),
I’m writing to ask you to seek that the Ministers for Energy, Environment and Climate Change review and for Tourism, Sport and Major Events overturn the decision to close more than 500 square kilometres of the Grampians National Park to rock climbing.
The decision was based on misleading information submitted by Parks Victoria, and updated information which now indicates there are many areas, identified by Parks Victoria, where rock climbing and Aboriginal cultural heritage sites do not overlap.
It is therefore quite clear that the decision to close swathes of land areas to rock climbing was unjustified and unreasonable.
I encourage the Ministers to be mindful that:
- There will be an impending need to restore as much tourism to the region as possible, and
- The Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park is a world renowned destination for rock climbers to visit.
I understand the rock climbing community is making progress with establishing better relationships with Traditional Owners of the region and are generally quite sympathetic to their concerns over land use issues. Though, this will be a long and patient road to travel.
Any continued mismanagement of this issue by Parks Victoria or the Government is likely to put unnecessary strain on genuine efforts for two Australian cultural groups to reconcile any differences and work towards finding pragmatic outcomes for continued climbing access.
I stress there is no doubt that we do need to make sure that climbers better manage their use of chalk and bolts in the park. This is a point the rock climbing community generally accepts. I understand the rock climbing community has developed a set of Climbing Management Guidelines that are commensurate with how climbing areas are managed globally, and particularly in respect of Indigenous cultural land interests.
However, to say that the use of bolts and chalk is a reason to close over 500 square kilometres is an unnecessary position to an exaggerated problem. I ask the minister, therefore, to review and overturn the decision to close this extensive area of the Grampians National Park to rock climbing and seek more pragmatic and harmonious solutions for all parties.
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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