VCC/Cliffcare Statement: Potential Changes to Climbing Access in the Grampians
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
There were some unexpected events last weekend and the community understandably wants clarification and answers. Getting answers and information can take time, and while it can be frustrating, there’s a process we have to follow. We appreciate your patience and support.
We want the climbing community to be involved in any decisions about climbing in the Grampians and this has always been our intention.
Over the past 12 months, we’ve put out reports, shared ideas and suggestions for how to minimise impact. We’ve encouraged discussion about climbing practices and tried to make people aware of the connection to and importance of the area for Traditional Owners. We’ve also highlighted any incidents that resulted in negative impact to the park.
This was food for thought, and the hope was that it would get the community engaged and talking about how we use the park and how these issues might be better managed. We also hoped people would begin to think critically about the issues and to prepare for the road ahead.
Conservation and cultural heritage
There are many reasons behind the current scrutiny of access for climbers and other park users in the Grampians. These reasons include greater engagement from stakeholder groups such as land managers and Traditional Owners in recent years, and changes in community attitudes and government approaches to conservation.
Any decisions about how to manage access will consider the concerns of all interest groups in the context of new and existing legislation. Which is why it is so important to make sure climbers have a seat at the table and we are seen to be a respectful park user group.
This is not unique to the Grampians, and this information was provided to the community both publicly, and privately, where necessary.
The best way to make sure we get a good outcome for climbers is to engage with other stakeholders proactively and this requires the community to understand the issues we’re facing.
Being proactive means we can’t wait to have explicit instructions in writing before we start to monitor and minimise our impact. If we do, we are compromising our position when it comes time to put forward our concerns.
We’ve had a number of incidents that resulted in serious impact in the park due to climbing. This has informed and changed how we need to approach this and will continue to.
More people are climbing
So far, our involvement with land managers has been positive but this doesn’t mean the road ahead will be straightforward.
There are very real problems with how we use the park now that the number of people climbing is growing. There are very real impacts driving the possible ways to manage this.
For the most part, climbers have the best intentions at heart when it comes to climbing in this unique and beautiful place. But we can’t keep doing things the way we always have.
We also need to think about people who are new to climbing. Education will be the focus of much of what we do, and that goes both ways—helping climbers to understand, and helping other interest groups to understand the concerns of climbers.
CliffCare education campaigns
CliffCare is working on an education campaign with input from prominent and experienced local climbers and developers. We expect to be ready to launch this soon.
We’re also planning more education campaigns for the future because this will be an ongoing effort to make sure people have the information they need to minimise impact, and to climb safely and respectfully.
We will also release surveys and every campaign will be the result of input and suggestions from the climbing community.
Protecting climbers’ interests
We’re also working to put in place measures to make sure the climbing community has a seat at the table when it comes to deciding on the future of climbing in the park.
Respecting other stakeholders and working collaboratively with land managers is extremely important. We also want climbers to be respected and to have the processes in place that give the climbing community, as an important user in the park, a solid standing.
Getting on board
We appreciate your patience and understanding while we work to gather information that makes sense and gives you a clear idea of the road ahead.
We encourage you to get on board and to support a proactive approach, either through volunteer involvement, feedback or even by considering your actions and the actions of others more thoughtfully when you are in the park.
More information and feedback
Please take the time to read the reports on the CliffCare homepage, especially the reports dating back to start of 2017. Any feedback from the climbing community will be welcomed and appreciated.
These documents were submitted to Parks Victoria. A series of constructive engagements will take place with Parks Victoria post the caretaker period.