The following is a press release by Grampians Access Working Group about why access is threatened and the petition people are signing to stop any closures.
At present vast tracts of the Grampians/Gariwerd National Park look like they will be closed to climbers by the park’s managers, Parks Victoria (PV). This process has been undertaken without any collaboration with climbers.
Climbing activity has been well-documented from its infancy, with the first recorded climbs done at Easter 1960 and the first climbing guide published in 1968. Throughout this entire time climbing in the Grampians/Gariwerd has always been officially recognised by PV, and climbers have a long and proud history of working with PV on cultural, environmental and access issues, including following self-imposed moratoriums in the wake of fires or to protect identified cultural sites and endangered species.
Sadly, in the past couple of months this history has been disregarded and PV has imposed blanket bans, locking climbers out of vast swathes of the park, including many of the most loved and important climbing and bouldering areas. Climbing in the Grampians/Gariwerd is globally significant, with climbers travelling from not only all over Australia but also from all across the world to visit and climb. The closure of these special climbing sites is akin to surfers losing access to Bells Beach. The experience of surfing at Bells cannot be replicated.
Climbers acknowledge and respect the connection Traditional Owners have to Gariwerd. Climbers acknowledge important cultural and environmental issues need to be addressed within the park, however, we believe that these issues can be managed with co-operation, understanding and education.
We believe that genuine collaboration between climbers and land managers will allow any restrictions on climbing to be finely and intelligently targeted, without resorting to the blunt instrument of the blanket bans that will drastically impact climbers’ access to areas and also have immediate and profound effects on local tourism.
Therefore, we ask you to sign this petition to support climbers’ in achieving the following goals:
– Ensure our continued access to the Grampians/Gariwerd National Park, including firm confirmation of PV’s publicly stated approval to responsibly climb in Special Protection Areas (SPAs) until a new Park Management Plan is implemented.
– Ensure climbers be actively included in the assessment of significant and sensitive sites to achieve intelligent and targeted access outcomes.
– Ensure climbers, as a key responsible user group, be actively included in the development of all future park management plans.
We believe that as a community, armed with the right knowledge and empowered by strong, constructive working relationships, we can all share the Grampians/Gariwerd National Park in a positive and harmonious way.