Black Range, Grampians. Cease bolting request.
After some concerning emails from cultural heritage teams, traditional owners and Parks Victoria, I am now putting the request out that all further route development – more specifically those requiring fixed protection, cease in the Black Range. This includes Black Ians (Lil Lil) As many of you may be aware, there were recent issues with graffiti in the cave at Lil Lil (Black Ians) which also houses artwork. A major graffiti removal workday took place. This required specialist work to look after the sensitive artwork. At the time, there was also concern over the amount of fixed protection that had been placed in the cliff in recent years. One bolted route in particular was directly over another art site. There are in fact 5 sites at last count at Lil Lil/Black Ians. This particular route after discussion with developers had the bolts removed.
It appears, the phrase ‘build it and they will come’ has taken off in the general Black Range area with more bolted routes appearing. The most recent was discovered, by cultural heritage teams and other park users on this past weekend 21/10/17. This appears to be in the Black Range proper area. Burrunjil area (confirmation pending) There are a number of routes, one of which is next to the art site and adjacent to a hand stencil. Actions are being put in place to remove these bolts.
This has brought the discussion of bolting practices in the parks, being the Greater Grampians, firmly back into the limelight, but this time there is a definite push to put some processes in place. This topic is now on the table and I invite you all to think about it. I will be putting out more communications in the very near future and I’m thinking some kind of simple forum platform where the climbing community can provide feedback. For all of those who do engage in route development, I would like to suggest, considering the current climate, to be thoughtful. I am also keen to hear your thoughts be it online or via email.
The Grampians and the parks within that greater area are important to all of us be we climbers, walkers, 4wders or those who work looking after the park as land managers. And we all want to do what we do and how we want to do it. But compromises will be part of this discussion.
For Traditional owners and this land, there is an even bigger spiritual connection. Moving forward, joint management of the parks will take place and indeed already, engagement with the land managers occurs. Traditional owners concerns about this site and others ongoing, need to be taken on board.
Please remember, that these discussions will involve a number of parties so respectful conversation is encouraged.