Access Report September 2016

On Friday 19th August, I attended a meeting organized by Parks Victoria Halls Gap. I was invited to represent the climbing community and attended with a number of other user group reps. The North Grampians Community Workshop was an opportunity to discuss openly and workshop, possible ideas on future developments in the North Grampians area of the park. Topics would include:

· Grampians Peaks Trail – Opportunities, alignments, camping on offer and planning requirements

· Fire Recovery – campground upgrades, rock climbing, four wheel drive and bush walking experiences

· Day use sites, picnic areas and trailheads – including Coppermine and Golton Gorge area discussions

So the main topic that came up that would primarily interest climbers was camping and campgrounds. And indeed, from many of the other user groups, this seemed to be a big issue. With the extra visitation expected from the Grampians Peaks Trails as well as just general growth in user groups, having enough camping spots to suit all could forseeably be a problem. Be it individual sites, vehicle based sites, bush camping etc and not to mention one of the biggest issues with this – toilet or waste disposal.

TROOPERS CREEK CAMPGROUND

Troopers Creek Campground which is the campground that climbers tend to use if they are climbing at Mt Difficult for the weekend is slated for permanent closure with the GPT being the impetus for this. I have had discussions with the PV team on this a number of times. Amongst a variety of concerns, the campground as it is currently, is a small one that will not be able to cater for the extra people that the trail brings through. It also has some cultural heritage sensitivities close by which add further issues. I explained my concerns re the closure in original discussions on this in an advisory group meeting a while ago. The new campground further up the road, although much larger, would add another 45 minutes on top of the 45 mins it already takes to walk up the track. As I explained, this campground is used by climbers and Mt Difficult is historically an important cliff. After some discussion, I have been assured that climbers will be able to park near the old Troopers and still walk the track up to Mt Difficult as they did before. This track though has been extensively damaged by the fire and won’t be repaired. Whilst I have not had the opportunity to check out the track, climbers in general are not adverse to walking tracks that aren’t maintained. It might be an idea at some point in the future though, to head in and check that the alignment is clear enough for people to find their way to cliffside. The new campground will have more tent sites and group camping areas and some vehicle based camping as well as toilet and fireplace facilities.

Bush camping in the area will also still be available.

STAPYLTON CAMPGROUND

Stapylton Campground is due to open just before the September school holidays. Opening has been held up by the slow supply and delivery of the timber used in the remaining works in the campground. Stapylton was always seen as a group camping site and the new improved one will be no different in that regard. Group camping will have even more of a focus although with some separated communal areas rather than the one main one that was there before. Vehicle based camping will also be catered for.

GOLTON GORGE BUSH CAMPING

This campsite will continue to be available as a bush camping site.

CAMP SANDY AND BUSH CAMPING

Due to Stapylton Campground being closed, a number of bush campsites have been developed and have grown in size. Camp Sandy in particular has been seen and noted by a number of other user groups and park locals. Feedback ranges from just interest to concern. Once Stapylton re-opens, there is a strong feeling that this particular bush camp will be closed down.

BOOKING SYSTEM AND FEES

Following on from this, discussion was then had around the fact that for many the booking system and fee structure doesn’t work for them and the possibility that bush camping will continue to grow be it for financial reasons or the simple requirements that some have in regard to camping. As was noted, the booking and fee system is not a PV strategy and wasn’t actually on the table to discuss at this meeting. This is a State government system. Still, it was an important thing to note, for PV to understand some of the continuing issues and thoughts of visitors to the park. Of note: State government is currently looking at the booking system of the parks so Watch this space!

Space doesn’t permit me to highlight every point discussed at the meeting but other topics did include Bouldering and its sudden growth and what that might mean for the park. The other user groups had the opportunity to learn a little more about it although personally, I think that there is probably room for some more education in this department.

All in all, the workshop was a good opportunity to hear other stakeholders interests and concerns in the park and what their suggestions might be for moving forward. Thanks must go to the Halls Gap Parks Victoria team for continuing to involve the community in discussions around forward planning. It is not an easy process to balance budget and resources with the needs and wants of the many diverse users. I look forward to discussing further many of the topics we broached.

Revegetation Project – Pines Campground & Beyond. The Planting #1

As noted in the previous blog post, the planting took place on Saturday 11th and Tues 14th June. On Saturday, members of the climbing community and park users turned up at the Pines Campground to put the callitris glaucophylla  in the ground. VCC member Ollie Sherlock who originally gathered the seed from around the Plaque wall area and grew the plants, was also in attendance. Many thanks to Louise Shepherd from Friends of Arapiles and Zoe Wilkinson from Parks Victoria who directed proceedings on the morning and with the perfect weather also turning up, it made for a great event. Huge thanks to all the volunteers, those who emailed me in response to the call out and those who read the posters and just rocked up. This project is a collaboration between CliffCare/VCC, Friends of Arapiles and Parks Victoria.

On Tuesday, the young kids of the area who attend the Bush Kinder helped to plant the remaining 8 trees in the Pharos Gully track area. Some were used around the newly rehabbed area to the right of the main track and others were used along the main track to help define the track line. Another fine weather day and the kids loved having a dig, hammering a stake and watering the young plants. Thanks to Jane Wilkinson, her assistants and all the lovely kids from the Bush Kinder. I certainly enjoyed it as much as they appeared to also!

These pines are indigenous to the area and whilst they do take a while to mature, they are the first of a number of plantings that will be occurring in the campground and surrounds.

If you camp at Arapiles and usually have left over water when you leave, take the opportunity to give the plants a water by using your leftovers

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Revegetation Project – Pines Campground and Beyond

It’s taken a while and much is still in the pipeline, but thanks to VCC member Ollie Sherlock, we have some plants ready to hit the ground. Callitris glaucophylla. Sourced from seed from the Plaque area, Ollie has lovingly grown these little babies. Like all kids, at some point it’s time to leave home and that time has now come. We are spreading the love a bit. Most will end up in the Pines campground, a couple at the back of D Minor Pinnacle, one at Muldoon where previously lived a Callitris and the rest will take residence in the newly rehabilitated area near the Pharos Gully Tourist Track. The latter area will be planted next week by the Natimuk Bush Kinder and helpers. What I am needing is some volunteers to help out this Saturday at 10am in the Pines Campground. This is not an all day job – in fact if we have a decent number it shouldn’t take long at all.

We will be meeting at 10am at the wash trough in the lower Pines area. Just bring yourself and wear closed toe shoes. PV has tools will be supplied but if you have any mallets or the like to hammer in the tree guard posts, that would be great. Tasks will be assigned. Some might dig and others might mallet the spikes and tree guards. If you are able to let me know if you are able to help out that would be awesome. Otherwise rock up. cliffcare@vicclimb.org.aulittle trees for centenary park

Easter Updates for the Grampians

Hi all,

For all of you planning an Easter trip to the Grampians, please read below the latest updates. I have also included one that contains everything ie climbing, walks as well as the standard climbing one.  I have had quite a few enquiries about Stapylton Campground. I will provide more information next week but in short, it will be open end of June.

Have a great break everyone, take care whilst climbing and travelling and get some great memories in.

Climbing UpdateMarch 22 2016 GNP Fire Recovery Rocklimbing update sheet 3

MapGrampians-ClosureMap-A4 (2)

Climbing,Walking and Campground UpdateGNP Easter 2016 updates combined all

CLIMBERS – WE NEED YOU! Quick Submission to Horsham RCCouncil due tomorrow!

Attention all climbers – For those of you that love Mt Arapiles and the surrounding area, just the way it is, could you please take a few minutes of your time to send in a small submission to Horsham Rural City Council.Their current draft document Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) is open for submissions which end tomorrow. The document is huge but the sections that may affect us are small. It is important to ensure that those sections of the document as it stands now stays the same when it comes to development and land use for the Mount and surrounding area. If there are enough submissions going the other way(and there doesn’t have to be that many) saying that development should be allowed to occur closer to the mount, it means that the document can be changed to allow that option to be there. In the bigger picture, that means that if anyone,be it individual or company wants to develop something, one of the biggest hurdles is already out of the way. Putting in a brief submission now could mean a whole lot less hurt later on. Prevention rather than cure.

Here is a link to the huge document http://hrcc.vic.gov.au/images/Haveyoursay/DraftHorsham_Municipal_Strategic_Statement_for_discussion.pdf with the pages 29 Natimuk and 41 Tourism the only ones you might be interested in reading. I have also supplied a basic idea style draft of a letter you could quickly put together draft letter ideas. Please do make the effort. This is not a NO letter, this is a support letter for the current document in its current form (specifying those sections.)

There is a little discussion also on it on Chockstone

Northern Grampians Reopenings – Further updates

Hi All,

Below is the official update from Parks Victoria on the reopenings that will take place this Saturday 20th September. Please take note of what isn’t accessible at this point in time and also the fact of what campgrounds are not open – especially Stapylton Campground. Most of all, while you are having a great time out there, take great care of the places you love.  Cheers!

Grampians National Park Update – 17 September 2014 (Rock climbing and Bouldering)

In January 2014 a large bushfire swept through the Northern Grampians causing widespread damage to visitor sites, roads and walking tracks. Many popular rockclimbing and bouldering sites were also impacted including Hollow Mountain, Summerday Valley and Mt Stapylton.

The dry, rocky landscape is now extremely fragile and will take a long time to recover – the fire burnt extremely hot so in many cases regeneration will now occur (very slowly) from seed. Loss of vegetation, loose rocks, unstable soils and loss of access tracks means any foot traffic will have long term impacts on the recovery of the environment. Impacts now will also affect the sustainability of rock climbing sites well into the future.

Recently, Parks Victoria, volunteers and contractors completed recovery projects within rock climbing areas to reinstate damaged walking trails, realign rock climbing access and replace directional signage.

As of Saturday 20th September access will once again be available to rock climbing and bouldering areas within the Stapylton Amphitheatre in addition to those already available in the Flat Rock area. The access track from Flat Rock has been realigned into Grey and Green Walls and to Taipan wall. Please follow these new alignments and refrain from walking off track.

Open Rock Climbing and Bouldering Areas in the Northern Grampians:

  • Central Buttress
  • Grey & Green Walls
  • Taipan Wall (Upper and Lower)
  • Spurt Wall
  • Epsilon Wall
  • Trackside Bouldering area
  • Snakepit
  • Wildsides
  • Spurt and Afterglow

Closures remain in place at all other Northern Grampians Climbing and Bouldering sites for the time being, including Summerday Valley, Andersons, The kindergarten, Van Diemens Land and Cut Lunch Walls. Stapylton Campground also remains closed. Plantation Campground is the closest, open campground.

Parks Victoria will continue to assess damage and undertake recovery works over the coming months. Updates will be posted as re-openings occur.  Please respect the fragility of the environment and support the long term recovery of the Northern Grampians by remaining out of any closed areas. While Parks Victoria regrets the need to enforce closures, substantial fines will be imposed on anyone found in any closed, fire affected areas.

 

Due to closures in the Northern Grampians, the availability of rock climbing, camping, car touring and bushwalking experiences is limited. Sourcing information on available campgrounds and other accommodation options is recommended. Please visit www.parks.vic.gov.au  for park maps and regular Grampians fire recovery updates.

For detailed information on available rockclimbing and bouldering sites in and near to the Grampians please refer to recognised guidebooks/websites. A general list of open and available areas includes the following:

Rockclimbing sites open in the Grampians:

  • Stapylton Amphitheatre
  • Flat Rock
  • Wonderland Range
  • Serra Range (Including Mt Rosea and Bundaleer)
  • Mt William Range
  • Victoria Point area
  • Victoria Range (Including the Red Rock, Muline and the Gallery area. Please respect cultural heritage and recovering fire affected areas)

Limited Bouldering Sites available in and near the Grampians:

  • Stapylton Amphitheatre
  • Victoria Range (Including the Gallery area. Please respect cultural heritage and recovering fire affected areas)
  • Serra Range (Including Mt Rosea and Bundaleer)
  • Mt Arapiles
  • Mt Talbot
  • The Black Range

Please remember your climbing etiquette:

  • Only climb and boulder in open accessible areas
  • Stick to tracks
  • Respect fragile environmental areas and cultural heritage
  • Keep an eye out for Aboriginal Art sites – Report to Parks Victoria if you come across anything new.
  • Be mindful of cleaning
  • No chipping or bolting
  • Avoid excessive chalk
  • Take your rubbish home with you

Camping fees at Victorian parks – Update

For all those wanting a little more info on the fees and online booking system being implemented on 1st July, please see here:

http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/visit/book-your-stay/changes-to-camping-and-accommodation-fees

fee sign