Stakeholder Reference Group Participation

Hi Climbers
Parks Victoria (PV) is preparing a new management plan for the Grampians landscape, an area that covers the Grampians National Park and adjacent parks and reserves. You’ll find information on the Engage Victoria website – if you haven’t registered your interest there, do it now!
As part of this management plan review there will be a Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) which will have representation of key user groups such as hikers, four-wheel-drivers and importantly us – the climbers.

This is pretty much the highest level of engagement you can have, which is good. The SRG is made up of one representative from each organisation identified by PV and invited to participate as representing a key user group. There are about 12 organisations or groups and the VCC has been invited as the representative body of the climbing community. Once the process has been finalised by PV, the composition of the SRG will be made public. We expect this to happen soon.

2019-06-25 15_22_07-Grampians Landscape Management Plan __ Engage Victoria

The VCC Access and Environment Officer* will attend the SRG meetings, with the responsibility to communicate the needs of the climbing community. Whilst we are still awaiting formal details from Parks Victoria, we understand that the SRG will meet 4 times over the course of the next 12 months, with the first meeting likely to be held in August. As an essential part of consultation and transparency, the VCC will convene formal workshops open to anyone in the climbing community who wishes to contribute irrespective of memberships or affiliations. These workshops will be conducted not only in Melbourne, but also in the Grampians and other key locations as needed. SRG documents will be shared with the representative in advance of the meetings and then shared with the climbing community in advance of scheduled climbing community workshops to facilitate meaningful collaboration.

We will also liaise with the Founding Council of the various climbing, mountaineering and backcountry clubs who are working on creating a unified Victorian peak body. This is about giving all clubs and climbers a voice.

Now if you want to get involved in this process, help setting up the workshops or just share your thoughts, please get in touch directly with the VCC or your climbing club leaders.

Paula (President VCC) and Philipp (VP VCC) are inviting you to two more casual pub info nights on the 4th and 19th July. There you can ask any questions about everything what’s going on in the climbing world or just have one to seventeen** beers.

Carlton North • 6:00 pm • 4.7.2019 • details on the facebook event page
Halls Gap • 5:30 pm • 19.7.2019 • details on the facebook event page

Cheers 🍻

Facebook Messenger:
m.me/vicclimb

Emails:
Paula • president@vicclimb.org.au
Philipp • phammes@vicclimb.org.au

* Paula has been appointed as the interim AE Officer until we refill this position.
** Ben complained when we said only sixteen beers.

Education display packs

On their way to a gym near you.

education packs - gyms

Aboriginal Heritage Identification GuideCLF3 Poster A4_1.0

CLF3 Poster A4_1.0

AccessIsNoAccidentA2_FAtoPRINT

Access & Environment Officer report May 2019

As announced by the VCC President on 6th May    https://vicclimb.org.au/2019/05/access-environment-officer-announcement/  I have resigned from my my position as Access & Environment Officer. Today will be my last day although I will be seeing the project launch of the Central Gully Walking Track Repair through on Saturday June 8th.

This hasn’t been an easy decision to make especially as I leave in a challenging time for Access, but after 11 years in the job, it’s time for a bit of self care, and also for someone else with a fresh heart and head to journey through the next couple of years that the Grampians access issues more specifically, will require. Best wishes for the new Access officer.

This will be my last report. It won’t contain much about the Grampians access – there will be more updates coming out about that soon. Instead it is just a few things I have also been working on with some great volunteers.

CliffCare website

The new CliffCare website is currently being built by Brett Williams of Sidetrip Productions. This is definitely the website I have wished for many years. Easy to navigate, great educational information, advocacy history and current campaigns. Here is a screenshot – stay tuned for the launch sometime in the near future.

cliffcare website screenshot

 

Education

Now that the CliffCare Education Project poster campaign Access is No Accident has launched, further efforts can be put into discussing the issues at length. One of my last tasks to do today is put together some small packs that will be sent to the gyms that contain the Access is No Accident posters, CliffCare posters CLF3 Poster A4_1.0 and postcards, and a gym copy of a great publication – Aboriginal Heritage identification guide. This guide was developed by Parks Victoria’s culture and heritage branch. It is used by Parks Victoria employees as well as other agencies and groups that may work on Parks Victoria managed land. As the climbing community regularly engage in working parties in the parks, being aware is an important part of being a volunteer. Alongside this requirement for understanding the volunteer work, this booklet is a great opportunity for the climbing community in general to read up and understand a little more about Cultural Heritage and how it is more than rock art.

Aboriginal Heritage Identification Guide -1

Aboriginal Heritage Identification Guide

You can also find this for download on the Education tab – Indigenous Cultural Heritage
https://cliffcare.org.au/about/education/indigenous-cultural-heritage/

Many thanks to Parks Victoria for supplying hardcopies and allowing us to provide the pdf for access. This will eventually reside in the education portal on the new CliffCare website but it the meantime you can access it on the current website as noted above.

Central Gully Walking Track Repair Project Launch Date – Pick My Project.

After the successful win in the State Government ‘Pick My Project’ grant programme and all the usual paperwork and permits required –

The launch date is now confirmed – Queens Birthday Weekend – 8th June, 2019.

The project now needs one of the most important contributions in order to get it up and running. You.

We need bodies to help move some rocks down the track so that stonemason extraordinaire Walter Braun, can work his magic. All you need is an hour or so to spare, some closed toe shoes and that’s it.

We will meet at the top of Central Gully at 9.30am  for some launch festivities and then onto a little rock transportation. Please drop CliffCare a line so we can estimate numbers. cliffcare@vicclimb.org.au

Many thanks for the funding provided by the Victorian Government through Pick My Project.

And that’s about it – As always lots more to say, so many works in the pipeline but I will be passing that onto the next person now.
Thanks to many for their support over the years and best wishes in the access space.

Over and out,

Tracey Skinner

Green Photo Background Environmental Protection Poster

Grampians Landscape Management Plan

Want to keep up to date with the management plan review and provide input? Register here at Engage Victoria. First step.

https://engage.vic.gov.au/grampians-management-plan

As announced on the 29th April, Parks Victoria will commence a review process of the Grampians National Park Management Plan in July 2019.
https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/about-us/news/grampians-national-park-statement

There will be a variety of opportunities to provide feedback over the review process and a Stakeholder Reference Group will soon be set in order to engage key stakeholders from the conservation, tourism and recreation sectors.

If you want to provide input make sure you register at Engage Victoria. Be informed and have your say.

 

Poster campaign launch – CliffCare Education Project

In the early years of my role as VCC Access & Environment Officer, I started developing an idea for an education project for climbers and climbing. The CliffCare Education Project (CEP). For me, education was always the key for a sustainable climbing future. Being told that you can’t do something, that you can’t climb at a, b or c without having a real understanding of why this might be, seems to me like a lesson in failure. It was around the time of my discussions and negotiations for The Ravine – back in 2009 that the idea was put down on paper. You can see the project outline here – https://cliffcare.org.au/about/education/cliffcare-education-project/

After the 2014 fires in the Grampians, concerns about climbing and bouldering impacts moving into the future, were more present in discussions with land managers. Following a report I put out to the community on bouldering and the education project, Jimmy and Reuben from Lactic and Northside Boulders contacted me offering help with design work for the poster campaign.

And here we are. It’s been a long road (there were a number of stalls) and many thanks must go to those who have put volunteer time and ideas into it over the years. Reuben and Jimmy, Indie Laden(designer), Simon Madden, Ross Taylor, Brett Williams and more recently Florence Seow.

I hope that a stronger education campaign continues on from this. The operative word being continues. The poster campaign represents some key issues we face as a user group and the impacts we need to manage. These are our impacts that we need to educate ourselves on – it is our responsibility. The posters are a visual conversation starting point with the opportunity to provide further educational possibilities as we discuss them in more detail. You can download the posters, print them for display or maybe share with club members etc. With a new CliffCare website on the way, more information on the various issues will be available. In the meantime, posters will soon be up on the current website under the Education tab. www.cliffcare.org.au About > Education.

Now onto the handbook….

 

AccessIsNoAccident_FA1000x1000SM_WEB7 (1)

AccessIsNoAccident_FA1000x1000SM_WEB2

All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

AINA Heritage

AccessIsNoAccident_FA1000x1000SM_WEB4

All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

AccessIsNoAccident_FA1000x1000SM_WEB5

All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

AccessIsNoAccident_FA1000x1000SM_WEB

All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

AccessIsNoAccident_FA1000x1000SM_WEB6

All rights reserved © 2019 CliffCare. Illustration by Indie Ladan of Northside Boulders. Content by Tracey Skinner, Simon Madden, Ross Taylor and Florence Seow.

AINA Overview

WANT TO PRINT THE POSTERS FOR DISPLAY?

DOWNLOAD HERE:

PDF Access Is No Accident – Print

Grampians Update – PV meeting 1st May

Yesterday VCC/CliffCare representatives – Tracey Skinner (Access & Environment Officer), Philipp Hammes (VCC Vice President) and myself (Paula Toal, VCC President) – met with Simon Talbot and other Parks Victoria (PV) staff. The meeting was positive overall. PV outlined the consultative process for the development of the new Grampians National Park management plan which will have representation of the climbing community through a Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) to facilitate the needs and rights of climbers to be protected in the new management plan and secure the legitimacy of climbing in the Grampians.

PV and the Grampians Access Working Group (GAWG is a working group of VCC/CliffCare) have been analysing spatial data to provide clarity as to which crags currently sit within Special Protection Areas (SPA) so that the climbing community has accurate information. The updated map and list of crags will be available soon, as we are only awaiting the PV analyst’s final cross-referencing of the data.

The VCC has taken legal steps to clarify the reasons for the existing bans as a means to understand on what legitimate and ethical basis we could seek to renegotiate access. We are anticipating the formal response to that legal request from Parks Victoria by the end of this week and PV confirmed that response is on track to meet that deadline.

We communicated to PV that we believe the essential next steps include that we have the opportunity to engage with them and Traditional Owners to understand and discuss the reasons for the SPAs and negotiate changes to those boundaries that allow access to our important world-class climbing areas.
 
We also communicated the negative impact the SPA restrictions are having on visitation to the Grampians and crowding at open crags. We particularly highlighted that the loss of many more moderate grade climbing areas is particularly difficult. We spoke at some length about Summerday Valley and PV acknowledged the confusion about this area and asked for us to leave this issue with them for immediate internal consideration. We will follow up on next steps in this regard.

We agreed with PV to commence development of a joint communication strategy to ensure correct representation of the collaboration between the climbing community and PV and address the negative impressions that have been made by the reports in the mainstream media. Simon Talbot also advised that PV plans to disengage with the mainstream media to prevent further confusion and misrepresentation.

PV also shared an update on its activities including the three compliance weekends in the Grampians where rangers were brought in from across the state to undertake compliance activities in the park. PV indicated it spoke with more than 700 individuals and identified 67 offences, only a handful of which were attributed to climbers. The offences attributed to climbers included driving around a locked management gate, driving off track, improper disposal of toilet paper, removing vegetation, climbing in a SPA and an instance where three individuals were found climbing in one of the eight key focus sites which can attract a fine. PV indicated that as yet they have not issued any fines however they are still considering how best to deal with the specific infringement related to the focus sites.

The VCC feels strongly that the best way forward is through a positive collaboration with Parks Victoria and the Traditional Owners. A respectful dialogue between all parties will have the best outlook regarding climbing access in Victoria.

The VCC/Cliffcare and GAWG will continue to update the climbing community about further progress and has commenced a process to engage with other clubs and representatives of the climbing community to develop an effective structure to support representation on the Grampians National Park management plan Stakeholder Reference Group. If you have ideas and suggestions, please let us know.

Paula Toal
VCC President

VCC – https://vicclimb.org.au/?p=1372

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.