GRAMPIANS COMMUNITY UPDATE APRIL 18 2019

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?

Get informed

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.

Get educated

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.

Get involved

If you have skills you think GAWG could use, get in touch via cliffcare@vicclimbing.org.au  Introduce yourself and your skills to get on our volunteer register.

Get generous

You can donate to CliffCare’s cause here.

Thanks,

GRAMPIANS ACCESS WORKING GROUP

Grampians Easter Update

What do I need to know to climb in the Grampians this weekend?

Where can I climb?
All closures as noted previously are still in place.
Please respect all bans in place. Take a copy of the map that show the SPA’s.

Enforcement can occur at the following key focus sites
The Gallery
Gondwanaland
Millenium
Billywing Buttress
Billimina Area
Little Hands Cave
Cave of Man Hands
Manja area

There have been questions from the community regarding regarding signage around the key focus sites in locations that aren’t noted as key focus sites. Parks Victoria has provided the following information in response to my queries –

What is scope of the blue squares area? ie does it just apply to the actual cliff as noted The Gallery?
The blue dots indicate approximate locations where compliance activities will be occurring for rock climbing
What are the total number of signs pertaining to the 8 focus sites?
In total, there are 11 signs installed in the Victoria Range SPA to identify the eight key locations where enforcement activities are occurring.
Are there 2 signs in place at each sign installation site?
There is a minimum of one sign installed at each site. There are multiple entry points to some sites with some sites having lengthy approaches by walking. Where this is the case, additional signage has been installed. There are:

o Three signs at locations leading into Gondwanaland

o Three signs at locations leading into Manja Area

o Four signs at locations leading into The Gallery area

o One sign at Millennium

Does one of these signs at each installation site note the names of the key focus sites so that people are aware the fines only apply to those 8 focus sites?
The names of the key focus sites are detailed on the signs so that park users are aware where compliance activities are occurring.
What can I do to protect the environment and respect Aboriginal cultural heritage?

  • Stick to tracks. Don’t create new ones.
  • Be careful about vegetation on the way into or at the crag – be sure to place your gear and boulder mats on surfaces without plants. Don’t remove vegetation from climbs or boulders.
  • Pack everything out
  • This includes your toilet waste! Or bury it at least 15 cm deep and 60m away from water sources.
  • If you are bush camping, make sure you camp in allowed areas only.
  • Use chalk sparingly and brush off any chalk marks that you make
  • Avoid trying to remove built up chalk or bolts. Removal of both requires consultation and permits to ensure no damage occurs to possible environmental and cultural values.
  • Lighting fires outside of official metal fireplaces, littering, interfering with Aboriginal cultural heritage such as rock art or any damage to rock faces such as drilling holes, cutting or removing vegetation are all offences under the National Parks Act and you can be fined.

What should I do if I’m approached by a ranger?
Be an ambassador for climbing and stay friendly and curious about their concerns. Follow their directions.

What should I do if a ranger tells me to leave or asks my name and address?
Under law they are entitled to do both if they have reasonable grounds to do these things.
Ask for their reasons and comply with their requests
Ask for their name, repeatedly if necessary
Make a record of what happened and what was said. Get someone who was there to sign your it if possible
Let CliffCare know what happened and use Parks Victoria’s complaints process if you think you were wrongly told to move on or to identify yourself.

GOATFEST PRESENTS ‘Town Hall’ GRAMPIANS COMMUNITY UPDATE

The VCC/CliffCare and the Grampians Access Working Group (GAWG) thank you for your patience. To say ‘there has been a lot going on behind the scenes’ is an understatement. And we understand that it may feel like nothing is happening. We are working on it.

There will be a more extensive community update shared soon but in the meantime –

Every Easter, Goatfest happens in Natimuk. A great opportunity for the climbing community to get together and view films created by climbers. We thought it a great opportunity to have the first of a number of ‘Town Hall’ style events that we have been planning. An opportunity to see what has been happening, hear what work is going on and ask questions. We have been busy.

Presenters:

Simon Madden
Mark Gould
Steve Monks
Tracey Skinner

We’re saving this for last on the night.

Saturday 20th April. Soldiers Memorial Hall, Natimuk

Stay tuned for the GAWG update this weekend.Screenshot 2019-04-12 15.07.34

Parks Victoria Rock Climbing Update Grampians FAQs

Parks Victoria have issued a FAQ page which more clearly states the current status of climbing sites in the Grampians National Park.

 

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Rock-Climbing-Grampians-National-Park-FAQs-20-March-19-3

Rock-Climbing-Grampians-National-Park-FAQs-20-March-19-4

 

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