The Gallery work day, despite having a small turnout, managed to get a huge amount of work done and the guys and gals who rocked up should get a huge pat on the back. Jacqui, David, Andrew, Gareth and Cameron – thanks heaps!
David, our chainsaw guy cleared all the trees that were over the track and also a couple that weren’t yet down. For these trees it was only a matter of time before they would be. The aim of removing those that are over the track is to try and ensure that people will:
1) stay on the correct track and not create new tracks around obstructions
2) more incentive in the long run to use the climbers access track as opposed to the track+ that goes up and around the cultural heritage art site Billimina.
+Many climbers are still using this and have always used this regardless of the fact that the climbers access track was created quite a while ago, especially to keep them away from the art site and further erosion. The recent floods more recently, did close down our access track and this work day was in response to that.
Water bars were also constructed with an aim to divert water off the track and into the vegetation. This will limit further erosion on the track and prevent deep rutting.
A new climbers access post supplied by PV, was also installed at the intersection where the Billimina art site signage occurs. With the old Grampians guidebook and a new guidebook currently giving directions to head up the way past the art site, this is unfortunately, directing too many climbers especially those new to the area( include international visitors) up the wrong way. While I understand signage is not everyones cup of tea, every climbing site needs to be assessed on its own particular needs/requirements. Signage is not going to happen across the board for every climbers track, but in this particular instance, we ( pardon the pun) really need to get people back on the right track. From PV’s perspective, they are really keen for us to continue to use our own tracks, be in charge of maintenance of them but at the same time, promote the fact that this is not a PV managed track – for anyone that does head up there.
All of this work is in order to maintain the climbers access track. Access being the operative word. It is not a track that is supposed to be maintained like a PV track where requirements for public safety tend to be a long list. This track is to allow access that impacts as least as possible on the surrounding environment. That’s not to say that if we get a report from a climber that there is a really hazardous obstacle that we can’t do anything about it though.
The track as with other climbers access tracks will be checked yearly by a climbing area custodian (just chasing up one now) but its really important for all those that use the area to report any sections that look like they aren’t holding up or have trees down over the track that will cause diversion. This way we can get in there and fix up anything before it becomes a major job. Actually this track closure issue and consequent work day was through the reporting of it by a climber. There is a section of the track quite near the top which could need some work or a slight realignment. I’ll be keeping an eye on it and if deteriorates, tackle it in about a year.
Thanks once again to the volunteers and also to Kyle, the walking tracks ranger at PV who gave a little instruction on water bar construction and placement and then left us to get on with the job.
I will be updating the cliff tab with The Gallery info shortly. More photos of the work day can be found here
Cheers All, Tracey