GRAMPIANS & CHALK CLEANUPS – A COLLABORATIVE PROCESS

There have been some recent conversations on social media in light of climber impacts and how the community could manage them as we move forward. Many of them make sense and have been used successfully in other parts of the world. We just need to take on board a few aspects not previously considered. And for the time being, hold off those brushes on buildup.

Chalk  buildup and it’s removal is a hot topic on many social media forums. Advice I have received suggests that people do not undertake it at this present time. I have explained a little further below. There will be a time and place for this but let’s do it the right way.

Chalk use and its impact and the conversation around removal has been something that people feel is a very immediate action they could take. Stewardship has always been an integral focus of CliffCare and throughout the years have worked with land managers in this respect. Following a conversation on a social media group about a chalk cleanup, and wanting to further encourage stewardship in the community, I contacted the Rock Art Specialist in the Grampians a while ago to discuss the best way to go about this.

The Climbers method is  scrubbing. Chalk buildup requires scrubbing. A lot of it. With water and maybe some kind of cleaning solution. The issue here is that what lies beneath the chalk could be sensitive be it cultural or environmental and the removal of the chalk buildup could cause damage.  In a park like the Grampians which contains a lot of Cultural Heritage we need to take extra care. Conservation work that has taken place on these kind of impacts previously is a specialised process to ensure that further damage doesn’t occur in the removal.

There also isn’t enough known about the chemical impacts of chalk on either cultural heritage or environmental values. As we move into a space and a process of education and understanding, we need to take this on board. The conversation I had was a positive one. Those cleanups will need to be done but we do need to do it the right way and with the right skills. Let’s be involved in this in an informed way.

Stay tuned in this space.  If anyone would like to be a head research guru in this area, drop me a line cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au

In the meantime, minimize your use of it and gently brush any residue so it doesn’t lead to buildup.