Parks Victoria takes steps to protect environmental and cultural heritage from climbing impacts
Friday 15 February, 2019
In the coming months, Parks Victoria will be focussed on ensuring eight key locations in the western part of the Grampians National Park are protected and will be asking all climbing activity to cease in these areas indefinitely.
Parks Victoria is committed to conserving Victoria’s natural and cultural assets. In recent years, rock climbing in the Grampians has significantly increased and contemporary rock climbing activities, such as bolting, have emerged creating significant risk to Aboriginal cultural heritage, rock faces and vegetation and visitor safety.
In the first instance from March, signage will be installed and compliance activity will take place in eight key locations. There are still hundreds of known climbing areas still available for international climbers and other visitors to enjoy and only a small percentage are affected. Detailed maps and information sheets are being prepared to assist and inform climbers. There are no changes to all main visitor sites and they will continue to remain open.
Parks Victoria are working with partners, stakeholders, local businesses, Licenced Tour Operators and park users to implement a compliance strategy for certain locations within the current Special Protection Areas.
Under the existing Grampians National Park Management Plan, rock climbing in Special Protection Areas is a prohibited activity however we recognise this plan is 10 years old and we need to review these areas in partnership with key stakeholders which may result in changes to boundaries. Further to the Special Protection Areas identified in the current management plan, 29 additional areas have also been set aside as Special Protection Areas, in which climbing is prohibited to protect their cultural and natural values. The materials being prepared will also have details of these places.
Nationally listed for its biodiversity and cultural heritage, the Grampians National Park was established in 1984 to protect environmental and cultural values of national significance.
The park is the most important area for floristic richness and endemism in eastern inland Australia, with more than 800 indigenous plant species; it is home to one third of the Victoria’s flora. It also supports a wide range of wildlife with more than 40 mammals and an abundance of bird species.
Known by Traditional Owners as Gariwerd, the Grampians National Park and other protected areas such as Black Range, Mount Arapiles-Tooan, Red Rock and Mount Talbot, contain the majority of surviving Aboriginal rock art sites in south-east Australia.
Parks Victoria has legislative requirements to protect these natural and cultural values and we’re committed to acting on our obligations.
Quotes, attributed to Simon Talbot, Chief Operating Officer, Parks Victoria
“Our main priority is protecting the natural and cultural values of this precious landscape that is the Grampians National Park. We are working to support climbers and other park users to find alternate locations in the Grampians to climb. We’ll also work with local businesses and Licenced Tour Operators over the coming months to clearly identify where climbing can continue.”
“A stakeholder reference group will be established to involve the community and rock climbers in next steps and the part we can all play in protecting our cultural heritage and environment and to identify where in the Grampians climbing can continue"