Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby

The Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby (BTRW) has been making the news recently. The program to reintroduce the wallaby was started in 2008. This involved closing an area to public access and the area included a couple of climbing sites. As you will see by the information provided, climbers agreeance to stay away from these sites has been a huge plus in the success of the BTRW colony surviving. Having areas closed to recreational use is never something that is taken lightly and reactions from the user groups range from understanding to anger and impatience. So this is a great opportunity to show the climbing community what, its understanding and patience, have allowed to prosper.

Being on the Grampians Advisory Group, I was lucky enough to see the ongoing progress and in the early days actually, the disappointment. The colony was not thriving with various adults disappearing and then pouch young doing the same. At one point, the program study was stopped with no more adults being introduced and the colony as it was, was left to proceed as nature intended. While the site was still monitored, especially in trying to manage the feral animals such as the fox, there was less human intervention. And lo and behold, the colony started to grow with more pouch young surviving. BTRW are notoriously shy animals and possibly less human contact has contributed to the success. The program has been a steep learning curve for all and the team at PV that were tasked with managing it in the park have done a brilliant job. Ryan Duffy who was the Program Coordinator – Biodiversity and Heritage, has now left PV Halls Gap but his enthusiasm and determination for the program to succeed, was a great thing to witness at the regular meetings on the program. Thanks to all that have stuck with it.

The colony now still has a long road ahead. In order for it to survive into the future, new genes need to be introduced. One of the issues now is inbreeding.

The larger area of land that was originally set aside for the wallabies was adjusted in late 2015.The area that was adjusted and removed appeared not to be used by the wallabies. It still includes sections of climbing sites although others are now accessible. Please continue to respect these closures.

https://cliffcare.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/rock-walllaby-reintroduction-site-access-restriction.pdf

CHECK OUT THE NEW UPDATED BRUSHTAILED ROCK WALLABY PAGE FOR A HISTORY OF THE PROGRAM. SEE HOW YOUR HELP IN STAYING OUT OF THEIR DESIGNATED AREA HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE THRIVING COLONY.

https://cliffcare.org.au/grampians/brush-tailed-rock-wallaby/

2017_02_17_BTRW1_Ki1 and PY

Grampians Update 14th Sept 2016

Received this communication yesterday from the PV team at Halls Gap. As it notes, the park is temporarily closed until further assessments on Friday –

PARKS VICTORIA UPDATE

Parks Victoria would like to advise you that due to heavy rainfall, flooding and minor rock-falls The Grampians National Park is Temporarily Closed (for the next 48 hours).

We are asking local community and visitors to remain out of the park until staff can assess damage and ensure there are no public safety issues.

VicRoads have currently closed the Northern Grampians Road which means access to many popular visitor sites such as Zumsteins, Mackenzie Falls, Reeds Lookout and the Wonderland Range is not available.

There are also many road closures outside the Grampians National Park that are restricting access into the park.

  • Please do not drive past road closure signage – there may be dangerous road washouts behind them
  • Do not drive through flood waters – Creek crossings and floodways may be compromised
  • Road cuttings may continue to deposit large rocks and small mudslides onto roadways
  • With saturated soils, large trees may fall
  • Walking tracks may have fast flowing or impassable creek crossings.
  • Rainfall may continue to fall across the park over the next day or so bringing more issues.

A full report, including important closures or re-openings to visitor sites will be forwarded out  as soon as we can confirm details, but the park closure will remain in place until Friday afternoon at this stage.  

You can also visit the PV website explaining the same thing but with a few pictures

 

http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/about-us/news/parks-affected-by-flooding

 

Grampians – Heavy rainfall alert

The weekend coming up is  not looking the best to be out climbing but if you are considering heading to the Grampians for either a chance at a climb or even for walking, take note of the following.

Parks Victoria Grampians Update

With the heavy rainfall we have received in the past few weeks and with the forecast rain predicted for the coming days, Parks Victoria would like to ask the local community and park visitors to exercise caution within the Grampians National Park this week.

  • Creeks and waterways are at very high levels. This has caused washouts and high level creek crossings. Currently road closures are in place along Red Rock Road and Henham Track.
  • Some walking tracks may have high level water crossings to navigate. If there are further heavy falls in a short space of time some narrow gorges may be impassable.
  • The Northern Grampians Road has experienced some small rock falls from the road cutting. Vic Roads will be assessing risk this afternoon.
  • Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water have informed us that they are increasing the water release from Lake Wartook to 200megalitres today. This is likely cause the base of Mackenzie Falls to be inundated as well as sections of the Mackenzie River walk towards Zumsteins.
  • Emergency services will be pulling together response teams in preparedness for potential flooding in areas throughout the Wimmera.

With this in mind, Parks Victoria would ask all residents and visitors to be mindful of the need to travel within the Grampians over the coming days. Please keep safety in mind and only visit areas that are open and easily accessible. If you do not have an urgent need to visit the park please keep travel plans flexible.

We envisage there may be further road and walking closures throughout the coming days, particularly within the low lying areas of the park and recently fire affected areas such as the Northern Grampians and Black Range State Park. We will monitor conditions throughout today and tomorrow and notify you of any further closures and safety issues. We would encourage visitors to remain on the Sealed Road network and avoid the minor gravel road network through the Park. Please keep your travel plans flexible and stay updated with conditions through the Parks Victoria website or local Visitor Information Centres.

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.

Access Report April

On Saturday March 5th, Bec Hopkins was our VCC/CliffCare rep for the Grampians Clean Up day in the Pinnacle area. She was one of a number of volunteers from a variety of groups that regularly use the Grampians National Park. The Pinnacle area near Halls Gap sees a huge number of tourists each year and unfortunately, with that comes quite a lot of rubbish. Some of this ends up being quite inaccessible to later retrieve due to it landing on ledges below. Bec and a couple of volunteers from Absolute Outdoors  donned their gear and abseiled down to the dirty areas to clean up. Six large bags of rubbish later and much sweat lost, the area was once again clean. Thanks to all who put up their hand to help out on the day and Tammy Schoo at Halls Gap PV who organized the event. Thanks also to the volunteers who helped out at Mt Arapiles clean up day – notably Keith Lockwood and Kieran Loughran and Zoe Wilkinson from Parks Victoria who encouraged all to help out with the Summit Road cleanup.

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

Access Report March: Clean Up Days at Mt Arapiles and The Grampians

With the Clean Up Australia event happening this coming weekend 5/6th March, it’s a great opportunity to do a little cleaning up in a couple of our favourite parks for climbing. CliffCare and the VCC  is jumping onboard and helping out. Have a look at the rubbish we have collected at other times in the photos below.

Tammy Schoo from PV in Halls Gap, The Grampians, is organizing a number of events at various locations around the park. http://www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/Grampians+National+Park One particular area, The Pinnacle sees a lot of human traffic and therefore collects its fair share of rubbish. Bec Hopkins (who was CliffCare’s 2015 raffle organizer extraordinaire) will be our Rep for the day. Bec will be getting on the rope to get to various ledges to help remove accumulated rubbish.

You can do your bit too. On your way to your favourite crag and at the crag itself – do a rubbish clean up. Take along a bag and fill it with any rubbish you find along the way. At the end of the day either deposit the rubbish in a public bin or take home and deposit with the rest of your rubbish.

At Mt Arapiles, we will also be running a Clean Up day with Friends of Mt Arapiles and Parks Victoria. Details are following

CLIFFCARE/VCC, FRIENDS OF ARAPILES AND PARKS VICTORIA IS RUNNING A CLEAN UP ARAPILES DAY AS PART OF THE CLEAN UP AUSTRALIA DAY EVENT. AND IT’S ON THIS SATURDAY 5TH MARCH STARTING AT 9AM.

We’re not looking for whole day commitments – just an hour or so is more than enough. If you have ever enjoyed Mt Arapiles as a climber, camper, day visitor, please spare this time and join us to give a little back. We will be picking up general rubbish around the campground areas particularly The Pines and also Bushrangers Bluff and along the Summit Road. And following the rains, the dreaded Bindi’s have reared their ugly, spiky heads in a few locations around the park, so we thought we would remove that rubbish as well.

MEET AT THE WASHING UP TROUGH LOWER PINES CAMPGROUND AT 9AM.

KEITH LOCKWOOD IS OUR COMMUNITY REP AND ZOE WILKINSON (AREA CHIEF RANGER) FROM PARKS VICTORIA WILL BE THERE TO MEET AND GREET AND HAND OUT BAGS AND ANY DIRECTIONS THAT MAY BE REQUIRED.

If you aren’t able to attend at this time, take a bag with you and keep an eye out for rubbish on your walk around the park or on the way to the cliff. It would be great to have some kind of tally of rubbish picked up, so if you are able to, take a photo of your collection before depositing in park bins. Any further info required or photos to be sent cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au

If you are planning on coming, dropping me a line would certainly help with preparations. Thanks!

AREAS TO BE TACKLED

Pines Campground and general camping areas
Bushrangers Bluff
Summit Road
Bindi (3 cornered jack) picking. Locations to be advised at morning meetup)

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Clean Up Arapiles day 2008

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Some of the rubbish we collected in 2008 on Clean up day. Lots of micro rubbish.

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This was found a number of years ago in the Grampians.

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More recently (2015) at The Gallery, Grampians