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 firstname.lastname@example.org Introduce yourself and your skills to get on our volunteer register.
You can donate to CliffCare’s cause here.
GRAMPIANS ACCESS WORKING GROUP