On their way to a gym near you.
Want to keep up to date with the management plan review and provide input? Register here at Engage Victoria. First step.
As announced on the 29th April, Parks Victoria will commence a review process of the Grampians National Park Management Plan in July 2019.
There will be a variety of opportunities to provide feedback over the review process and a Stakeholder Reference Group will soon be set in order to engage key stakeholders from the conservation, tourism and recreation sectors.
If you want to provide input make sure you register at Engage Victoria. Be informed and have your say.
Today is the day people! ClimbForGrampians. All the listed climbing businesses in Victoria and South Australia have come together to help raise funds and awareness around the access work happening for the Grampians. Get on down to one of the gyms or buy yourself something nice. Today is also the official launch date of the ACCESS IS NO ACCIDENT – CliffCare Education Project. This is not just about the Grampians. This is about what we need to do as a user group for sustainable climbing into the future in the Grampians or wherever else we may climb. CliffCare would like to extend a huge thanks to all who have been involved in organizing this and the accompanying education campaign launch of posters and workshops and to all the climbers taking part
ACCESS IS NO ACCIDENT. Developed by Tracey Skinner (@CliffCare), Simon Madden & Ross Taylor (@verticallifemag), Florence Seow & Indie Ladan (@northsideboulders), the campaign highlights actions that you can take to minimise your impact as a climber on the environment and help protect your access to crags. Along with the poster launch there will be workshop sessions at a number of gyms on crag etiquette. The workshops have been developed by Florence Seow, they are free and run by volunteers.
For every person who climbs at one of the participating gyms listed below, $5 will be donated to CliffCare.
Show up and show your support!
See below for a list of participating gyms and details. Each participating gym’s in-house event activities may vary. Contact the gym for further details.
Adelaide’s Bouldering Club
Cliffhanger Indoor Rock Climbing Gym
The Lactic Factory
North Walls Indoor Climbing
The Rock Adventure Centre
Urban Climb Collingwood
The Wilderness Shop*
9 Degrees Lane Cove
*Participating retailers donating %10 of retail sales revenue.
In the early years of my role as VCC Access & Environment Officer, I started developing an idea for an education project for climbers and climbing. The CliffCare Education Project (CEP). For me, education was always the key for a sustainable climbing future. Being told that you can’t do something, that you can’t climb at a, b or c without having a real understanding of why this might be, seems to me like a lesson in failure. It was around the time of my discussions and negotiations for The Ravine – back in 2009 that the idea was put down on paper. You can see the project outline here – https://cliffcare.org.au/about/education/cliffcare-education-project/
After the 2014 fires in the Grampians, concerns about climbing and bouldering impacts moving into the future, were more present in discussions with land managers. Following a report I put out to the community on bouldering and the education project, Jimmy and Reuben from Lactic and Northside Boulders contacted me offering help with design work for the poster campaign.
And here we are. It’s been a long road (there were a number of stalls) and many thanks must go to those who have put volunteer time and ideas into it over the years. Reuben and Jimmy, Indie Laden(designer), Simon Madden, Ross Taylor, Brett Williams and more recently Florence Seow.
I hope that a stronger education campaign continues on from this. The operative word being continues. The poster campaign represents some key issues we face as a user group and the impacts we need to manage. These are our impacts that we need to educate ourselves on – it is our responsibility. The posters are a visual conversation starting point with the opportunity to provide further educational possibilities as we discuss them in more detail. You can download the posters, print them for display or maybe share with club members etc. With a new CliffCare website on the way, more information on the various issues will be available. In the meantime, posters will soon be up on the current website under the Education tab. www.cliffcare.org.au About > Education.
Now onto the handbook….
WANT TO PRINT THE POSTERS FOR DISPLAY?
A short update on some GAWG activities and further information from Parks Victoria. They have sent us copies of maps that enlarge the northern end of SPAs and included legend and grid references. This has been created following feedback and were used this weekend to help engagement activity.
VCC/CliffCare have a meeting with Parks Victoria next week. We will be discussing the climbing data currently available, and next steps associated with establishing the reference group and the future of the Grampians National Park Management Plan. Parks Victoria and VCC/CliffCare are working together to share spatial information to help park users understand where climbing can and can’t occur. We will take this opportunity to question and discuss further the current closures in place and also follow up on our previous complaints about misinformation being put into the public sphere that adversely affects the reputation of the climbing community.
In the area of Cultural Heritage and Indigenous affairs – After initial contact with a number of Traditional Owner groups, we are working with our Reconcilliation advisor on next steps in this area. Once we have more substantive information we will share.
As always, we ask for your patience whilst we work through a multi layered process that requires thoughtful and respectful engagement.
Education. The launch of CliffCare’s educational campaign is just around the corner. This has been a long time in the making with many people offering their help. More on this soon.
Fundraising and Educational Awareness event. ClimbForGrampians May8 is a climber community initiative which CliffCare has been collaborating on with a number of gyms throughout Victoria and South Australia.
More on this on a separate post.
WHAT IS THE GRAMPIANS ACCESS WORKING GROUP (GAWG)
The Grampians Access Working Group (GAWG) was formed in February this year by the Victorian Climbing Club and CliffCare to respond to the unexpected closures to climbing in the Grampians. We want to provide an update to the climbing community about our approach, what we have been doing and how you can get involved. You can find out more about the group and the people involved HERE
The ban on climbing is an understandably emotive issue and there have been many individual responses from within the climbing community. GAWG believes that ongoing collaboration with Parks Victoria and the Traditional Owners is the way to achieve the best outcome for climbing in the Grampians. Climbers will always need to maintain a relationship with Parks Victoria as the legitimate managers of the Grampians and it is important that we recognise their very real concerns about the impacts of climbing on the park. We intend to work with PV to find a resolution that meets these concerns and provides the best possible outcome for climbing. In doing so we hope to build a positive reputation for climbers as responsible custodians of the environment and cultural heritage.
WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING?
We have written to PV to express our disappointment at the lack of consultation before the climbing bans were imposed and to point out the previous long history of cooperation between climbers, land managers and traditional owners to address access issues in the Grampians and elsewhere.
We have made contact with local MP Emma Kealy and Minister Lily D’Ambrosio to inform them of our concerns regarding the closures, highlighting our desire to work with PV to address any issues.
We have contacted PV to formally request written reasons for the 8 closures in the Victoria range and the subsequent 29 closures in new Special Protection Areas (SPA). This is in ongoing correspondence.
We are working with PV to ascertain precisely which climbing sites are banned, including in the older and the newly declared SPAs.
Our intention is to look at the specific issues at each climbing site with PV to better understand if there are genuine conflicts with cultural or environmental values – and how these might be addressed.
We have pointed out to PV some misinformation about climbing impacts on their website. This was acknowledged by PV and removed. We will pursue this issue further with PV.
We are preparing to participate in the PV Stakeholder Reference Group. This group is being set up by PV to address current access issues as well as longer term strategic planning for climbing both in the Grampians and the rest of Victoria.
Prior to the first SRG meeting, we will be meeting with PV to more fully understand the precise locations of concern as well as the processes that will govern the upcoming review of the Grampians Management Plan.
We are preparing a Climbing Management discussion report to help inform our conversations with PV.
We are working on the best ways to build our relationships with Traditional Owners which we feel is an integral part of moving forward.
Within the climbing community, we have hosted a change.org petition to demonstrate to Parks Victoria the number of people concerned by the bans. With 21,676 signatures, support was strong, thank you! On Wednesday 8th of May gyms in Victoria and South Australia will be hosting events to raise awareness, fundraise and educate climbers about issues that affect access. Make sure you head to your participating gym! Please follow updates from CliffCare and @climbforgrampians.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
A Town Hall style session is coming to Natimuk’s Goatfest on 20th April in the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall. Here you can ask the presenters any questions that have been on your mind about the bans and CliffCare’s work.
Gym workshops are coming to a climbing gym near you on May 8th, check out @climbforgrampians. Participate to get an understanding of best practices at the crag.
Ongoing workshops scheduled for gyms.
If you have skills you think GAWG could use, get in touch via email@example.com Introduce yourself and your skills to get on our volunteer register.
You can donate to CliffCare’s cause here.
GRAMPIANS ACCESS WORKING GROUP
On Tuesday 12 February, we attended a meeting with Parks Victoria and representatives from the climbing community and the Western Victoria Climbing club to talk about rock climbing access in the Grampians.
Parks Victoria advised that eight areas in the western Grampians will be closed to rock climbers. The exact locations of the areas were not provided at the meeting, however, we were told to expect this information within 48 hours.
Signage will be put up at the eight closed areas over the next two weeks and people ignoring the closures will be issued with fines.
As soon as we receive information about the exact locations of the closures, we will make this available. We anticipate the majority are located in the Victoria Range.
Parks Victoria are banning climbing in these areas because Aboriginal Victoria—the organisation responsible for cultural heritage management and protection—believes Parks Victoria have failed to protect cultural sites. Aboriginal Victoria can place large fines on Parks Victoria in these cases.
There are ongoing concerns about damage to cultural sites due to the impact of climbing and bouldering. Two cases of bolting occurring close to rock art in the Black Range have added to the problems.
As well as the exact locations of the closures, we asked for information about the size of the closed areas (where the bans will extend to) and the reasons climbing bans are being placed on these particular areas.
With more information, we hope to be able to prevent other areas being closed to climbing and find ways to work together to protect the park.
The potential for more closures is a real possibility and Parks Victoria told us they plan to look at the impacts of climbing and bouldering in other areas.
As well as damage to cultural heritage, Parks Victoria are very concerned about environmental damage occurring in the park, in particular the active removal of vegetation around boulders, impacts due to bouldering mats on vegetation, and the use of fixed anchors and track clearing.
Parks Victoria plans to create a stakeholder group to help develop a state-wide climbing policy. And also provide input to update the 2003 park management plan for the Grampians, which currently doesn’t include guidance for activities like bouldering.
It’s essential that our response is clear, coordinated and respectful.
We are a legitimate user group of the Grampians National Park and climbing, like many other activities, can exist in a way that doesn’t impact negatively on cultural or environmental values.
Please respect these bans as they will be policed and ignoring the closures could jeopardise access to other areas. We strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with the information Cliffcare has provided to date about access issues in the Grampians. It can be found on the CliffCare website.
Further information about the locations of closed areas will be provided as soon as we receive it.
Vertical Life have also provided a statement https://www.verticallifemag.com.au/?p=9835
VCC/CliffCare Access & Environment Officer