uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby slparker » Thu 09 Nov, 2017 11:30 am

Another point, in respect to the closure of Uluru to climbers , is that it is a misapprehension to conclude that this is necessarily just a top-down decision.
The park's 2010-2020 management plan recommended the climb be closed when one of three preconditions was met, including that fewer than 20 per cent of visitors climbed the rock.
In the last few years visitors were asked to sign a form detailing their preference to climb or not climb the rock - subsequently only 16% of visitors choose to climb the rock now.
This process has been consultative and it appears that the Traditional Owners are making decisions based upon both their preferences and the overwhelming wishes of visitors.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby jdeks » Sat 11 Nov, 2017 11:55 am

The figures on climbers, as previous stated, are quite unreliable.

The vast majority of private visitors have no opportunity to submit such data - they simply pay at the gate and enter the park. The bulk of the data is collected from forms provided as park of organized tours. I have personally witnessed and spoken with the leaders of said tours, and many actively discourage/prevent people from doing the climb (eg. "its' 'banned', the guide wont go with you, you'll void your travel insurance, you can't do the rest of the tour") or pre-fill the fields indicating 'no climb' part of company policy, to appear to toe the 'cultural respect' line.

There were 136 submissions made regarding climbing ban proposed in the draft of 2010 NPMP . Half were opposed to the climb ban conditions, which reflected the wider trends in the community attitudes shown in surveys. The secondary redraft which was finally approved was primarily to meet the requests of the tourism industry submissions, of which there was very little transparency. For over 20 years prior, climb numbers has been periodically surveyed (by independent bodies) fluctuations at approximately 40%- 50%. Yet oddly, ever since the submission of the plan, the authoring body has been reporting their own numbers as falling, remarkably to meet the very conditions that the moneymakers helped them write. By pure coincidence, the drop in reported numbers has taken just long enough that " the tourism industry, is satisfied that adequate new visitor experiences have been successfully established".

Out of 're$pect', of course.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby Davidf61 » Sat 11 Nov, 2017 1:10 pm

I rode past Uluru a few months ago, stopped at the Shell? servo to top up, got talking to some German tourists, they had just finished the climb up and down. Said it was quite busy, but a lot of people were unprepared for the climb and baled 1/2 way through. Still, sounds like plenty still going up.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby photohiker » Sat 11 Nov, 2017 2:55 pm

From Nikki Gemmell in the Australian Magazine.

The ban on climbing Uluru is timely and right.

“Most of us are evolving, becoming more culturally aware.”

“Senior traditional owner and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park chairman Sammy Wilson says the rock is “not a theme park like Disneyland” and that the Anangu have long felt they had a “gun put to their heads” to keep the climb open. “If I travel to another country and there’s a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don’t enter or climb it, I respect it.” This ban won’t make a scrap of difference to tourism numbers.”
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby wayno » Sun 12 Nov, 2017 4:59 am

in NZ, maoris dont want people standing on tops of mountains... any mountain..... gets problematical if you try and follow that rule when you're following a ridgeline and the mountain has steep drop offs on either side....
DOC and the local maori are asking people not to climb Ngauruhoe at all now,
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby slparker » Sun 12 Nov, 2017 6:26 am

The Maori claim on Ngauruhoe looks less controversial than Uluru. Looking at the DOC website it was granted as a nat park by the Maori in the 1800s, has world heritage status and cultural world heritage status.

Not wishing to provoke an argument about the relative disenfranchisement of non-indigenous Kiwis vs Aussies here, but surely Indigenous people can have some cultural spaces and non Indigenous can have other areas to play in?

In Australia, the amount of significant or iconic areas that are totally segregated for Indigenous cultural use are very small and, i would imagine are likely to be largely on Native Title land, which is owned by the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people of that area.

Certainly, in the case of Uluru the land is owned by the Anungu and it is theirs to run how they see fit, just like the freehold land owned by anyone reading this forum. The only thing the Anungu cannot do is sell the land.

What is the situation in NZ? Is Ngauruhoe owned by NZ govt. or the Maori?
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby Nuts » Sun 12 Nov, 2017 9:36 am

jdeks, we are being told that decision to close (and timing) were made by the management board. Of the 12 members 8 are nominated indigenous persons from the traditional owners, not immediate tourism beneficiaries?

jdeks wrote:For over 20 years prior, climb numbers has been periodically surveyed (by independent bodies) fluctuations at approximately 40%- 50%.


I see 16% a quoted number of 'visitors' climbing. Given there are .25 million visitors to Uluru annually, in any quick search, and a short annual window in which it's desirable, i would find even 16% hard to imagine. Do you have any documented 'independent' survey' for so many?

I find your contribution interesting. Modern media is often woeful, set against an ounce of local knowledge. But it's not necessary to beat folks up for trying to show respect. It's not necessarily respect of management decisions or even aboriginal people, living or past. It can simply be respect for (or simply 'interest in' preserving) their history and culture, as 'white' people do.
"The guides are all complaining there's mobile reception and hot showers," Godfrey laughs.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby jdeks » Sun 12 Nov, 2017 11:53 am

Nuts wrote:jdeks, we are being told that decision to close (and timing) were made by the management board. Of the 12 members 8 are nominated indigenous persons from the traditional owners, not immediate tourism beneficiaries?


Correct about the board at present Nuts. But when the Management Plan was released in 2009 for review, the representatives of the local tourist bodies (who held political sway for obvious reasons) kicked up a big fuss about plans to ban the climb gutting the tourist economy. A large number of formal submissions were made and after many discussions behind closed doors, the then-Board release the new draft which became the plan we have today, including such provisions as :

(b) For visitor safety, cultural, and environmental reasons the Director and the Board will
work towards closure of the climb. Parks Australia will work with the tourism industry
and Nguraritja to ensure that:
...
-the tourism industry has sufficient lead time to amend and advertise new itineraries

-impacts on the tourism industry are minimised.


(c) The climb will be permanently closed when:

-the Board, in consultation with the tourism industry, is satisfied that adequate new visitor experiences have been successfully established,
...


What this basically meant was the tourism industry now had leverage on any any future board members wanting to close the climb, without even being on the board themselves ; essentially translating to 'work with us to funnel tourists onto commercial alternatives to the climb, and we'll endorse closing it'. Question is, why did the Board agree to such conditions?

By pure coincidence, the very same year, Grand Pacific Tours offloaded the struggling Ayers Rock resort to the Indigenous Land Council (who oversees the Uluru Board) for a generously overvalued $317mil - a deal in which huge amounts of money evaporated .... not exactly hard to join the dots on that one. The parallels to the Dick Smith fiasco are obvious. Curiously, the indigenous affairs minister later quashed the investigation into the sale.

Meanwhile, the tour companies have been busily rebuilding their offerings to feature a veritable plethora of alternatives to the main public attraction of climbing (if you can afford them)- guided camel and motorbike tours, heli and balloon rides, moonlit glamping with dreamtime storytelling. All very cultural and respectful and profitable. The downside has a dramatic been increase in commercial traffic, which has been deliberately set up to displace private tourism (with the help of Parks) - even away from the climb. Sadly ironic, considering the recent statements about it Uluru 'not being Disneyland'.

It's a master stroke by the industry - they've turned an issue that could have hamstrung them, into a perfect smokescreen to more of less seize commercial control of the place. Now the last step is to switch from "Don't climb the rock - buy our $1000 "Respectful Tour" package" over to "Buy our $1000 tour package - the other options are closed". Right on cue, the supposed climb numbers have dropped to levels that supposedly fulfill the conditions they helped write, to shut down the last big free attraction and cement the 'respect' narrative that sells their new packages.

This study outlines some historical climbing percentages (sec 5.2, Table 4). - http://www.nintione.com.au/resource/HHthesis.pdf. There is perhaps some level of small decline in number shown there, but the trend in those figures doesn't match the conveniently-steady reported drop since 2010. That study also makes it quite clear that even back then, indigenous wishes were well known, and roughly 40% still chose to climb for their own reasons. Which raises the question - if that hasn't changed, why have the numbers?
Last edited by jdeks on Sun 12 Nov, 2017 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby wayno » Sun 12 Nov, 2017 12:01 pm

Ngaruhoe is owned by the govt but the maori have a say in its management, they have DOC's ear and DOC work with them to try and magem in accordance with their wishes as best hey can
meanwhile next door the tongariro crossing is crawling with the best part of a hundred thousand people the aori wanted that improved but theres all types of human waste all over the track and nothing being done to stop it, whats worse, standing on top of a peak and risking offending a cultural group or letting a highly valued track get literally crapped all over?
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby Nuts » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 8:51 am

Thanks jdeks. More complicated (and believable) than 'happy days'. I personally appreciate the nitty gritty.

So the question remains, however, the board as representatives of Anangu community and despite the many who may have far greater concerns than this climb.

Is closing the climb not generally a desirable thing and deserving support (from those of us wanting to do so)? (not that 'our' support is at all necessary in this case).
"The guides are all complaining there's mobile reception and hot showers," Godfrey laughs.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby photohiker » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 11:28 am

jdeks wrote:This study outlines some historical climbing percentages (sec 5.2, Table 4). - http://www.nintione.com.au/resource/HHthesis.pdf. There is perhaps some level of small decline in number shown there, but the trend in those figures doesn't match the conveniently-steady reported drop since 2010. That study also makes it quite clear that even back then, indigenous wishes were well known, and roughly 40% still chose to climb for their own reasons. Which raises the question - if that hasn't changed, why have the numbers?


Having been to the rock twice between many years, I have an opinion why the numbers are dropping.

1) Access to the whole area is now well regulated and visitors are charged for entry to the area.
2) Camping and hotel/motel accommodation has been moved away from closer to the rock since my first visit.
3) The Aboriginal people have displayed their preference for the climb not to be taken; in the media, tourist brochures, in the signs and local Aboriginal community at the climb area.
4) General population visiting the area are way more aware of the native preference compared to my first visit, and clearly many are happy to oblige.

On our first visit, there was no discussion or preference delivered to us regarding the climb by anyone or leaflets or people. There were signs indicating that some climbers fell but that was about all except the Chicken Rock sign. There was also no restriction of climbing during windy weather but now the climb area is gated and closed during weather incidents.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby highercountry » Sat 25 Nov, 2017 12:17 pm

photohiker wrote:...I have an opinion why the numbers are dropping.

1) Access to the whole area is now well regulated and visitors are charged for entry to the area.
2) Camping and hotel/motel accommodation has been moved away from closer to the rock since my first visit.
3) The Aboriginal people have displayed their preference for the climb not to be taken; in the media, tourist brochures, in the signs and local Aboriginal community at the climb area.
4) General population visiting the area are way more aware of the native preference compared to my first visit, and clearly many are happy to oblige.


Another factor might also be that the population has become significantly fatter and less fit therefore less capable or inclined to want to climb Uluru.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby north-north-west » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 10:46 am

highercountry wrote:Another factor might also be that the population has become significantly fatter and less fit therefore less capable or inclined to want to climb Uluru.


Personal observation suggests that many of the fatter and/or less fit who want to get up there start and go no more than a few hundred metres.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 11:32 am

north-north-west wrote:
highercountry wrote:Another factor might also be that the population has become significantly fatter and less fit therefore less capable or inclined to want to climb Uluru.


Personal observation suggests that many of the fatter and/or less fit who want to get up there start and go no more than a few hundred metres.



I think this is true of everywhere. Walking some of the more touristy tracks around Hobart in the last week (Amos, Lake Dobson and Sth cape bay) I have been appalled by the amount of tissue/toilet paper on the tracks. Only seems to be the first few hundred meters then it thins out. There was even a poo on the track into south cape bay. Just disgusting.
Maybe there should be signs near the start of these tracks suggesting that toilet paper is regarded as litter..... :x
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby Nuts » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 1:06 pm

highercountry wrote:
photohiker wrote:...I have an opinion why the numbers are dropping.

1) Access to the whole area is now well regulated and visitors are charged for entry to the area.
2) Camping and hotel/motel accommodation has been moved away from closer to the rock since my first visit.
3) The Aboriginal people have displayed their preference for the climb not to be taken; in the media, tourist brochures, in the signs and local Aboriginal community at the climb area.
4) General population visiting the area are way more aware of the native preference compared to my first visit, and clearly many are happy to oblige.


Another factor might also be that the population has become significantly fatter and less fit therefore less capable or inclined to want to climb Uluru.


And these all sound like believable reasons for numbers to drop. Another may be the part of that skewed demographic (table) being further educated. Unless based on accessed data and methods it's all speculative. The influence of tourism business is also well worth keeping in mind even as just another factor..

Personally, looking for an analogy, climbing on to and even crapping upon one of the Stonehenge monolith seems to work?, even there in a case where there may be no present culture to directly /knowingly ignore and offend, good enough to worship our gods of 'it's just not done'.
"The guides are all complaining there's mobile reception and hot showers," Godfrey laughs.
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Re: Uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby Lophophaps » Sun 26 Nov, 2017 1:12 pm

It was the same on the Coast Walk, Royal NP, Sydney. There's a feature called the Wedding cake, and many tourists go there. It's maybe 90 minutes return for a slow walker. After the Wedding Cake there was hardly any toilet paper or litter for the next 20+ kilometres. A product called Disposable wipes is creating big blockages in sewers. The disposable wipes do not break down and clump. The word "disposable" is misleading. Similarly, biodegradable bags give a feel-good sense to punters, but the bags are still a heavy environmental impost. In time there will be more awareness of environmental matters, but will it be too late for our kids and their kids?
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby jdeks » Tue 28 Nov, 2017 9:39 pm

Just got off the phone with an acquaintance in Alice, with some fairly extensive history in the tourism industry up there.

When I asked for his take on the reported drop in numbers, immediate response was ' typical bureaucratic exercise in bassackwards data-gathering - the conclusion's been made, find the data to support it'. Typically, by selective sampling.

Biggest influence in his opinion is drastic reduction in commercial tours featuring guided climbs. Guided inclusion is a make-or-break factor for most foreign touristsOperators have been pressured heavily in this regard for years, and it echoes what I heard from tour guide buddies when I was up there - not one of them had the climb on their routine as a matter of company policy. Worth noting no 3rd party body has surveyed general climber proportions in independent travelers in a very, very long time.

He also said there's been background chatter and planning in the local industry, as early as 2014-15, around a climb number drop "scheduled" for around 2020...not exactly very statistical. His personal opinion was that the exact decision was always going to be politically timed, and came early as a result of the rejection of a parliamentary Indigenous advisory body (won't even get into that one...).

In short - the people making a buck from the place basically knew when it would close before the Indigenous did.

Re- TP/loo stops on the rock. This point gets raised often about the 'disrespect' being shown, with parallels often drawn to p00ping on anything from the Sistine chapel to buddhist temples. Without going into the man-made-vs-natural-formation differences, the analogy breaks down again when you note this sort of behavior is frowned upon basically anywhere other than a public toilet or deep wilderness (and even there). The vast majority of climbers leave no trace,and the inconsiderate few who do not, are more just generally disrespectful of public spaces, and are matter to be dealt with separately. Short version is if we banned access to any natural attraction that jerks took a cr4p on, we'd lose access to basically every hike in the country.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby Nuts » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 8:48 am

Not so much a reason to close jdeks, but an act that we collectively understand as disrespectful to an identified cultural site (aside from just another place of natural beauty)?

What's wrong with accepting a cultural site doesn't necessarily need buildings or structures to be considered worthy of care? By way of it being a first world 'noble cause' as has saved many such sites.

Besides, it's 'their' place. Other than that being the end of the story, the desire has always been understood to close the climb and provisions to amend the management direction were discussed in the lease and management plan from inception.
"The guides are all complaining there's mobile reception and hot showers," Godfrey laughs.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby Lophophaps » Wed 29 Nov, 2017 9:45 am

By accepting the request not to climb, in a very small way, Uluru becomes part of my place. Like many here I've walked thousands of kilometres over many years, and I consider this to be my country, to share, preserve and enjoy. No charge, just the effort to be there, skills, and willpower to slog up some steep hills on days when I was not feeling that good, like Cotter Gap, Johnnies Top and the Twins. Some recreations are of no real interest to me, like mountain bike riding and fishing, but there's room for us all if we respect each other and the environment. It's not hard.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby Mark F » Tue 06 Feb, 2018 7:40 pm

There can be consequences if the climb is closed and things go pear shaped http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-06/uluru-tourists-plead-guilty-to-offences-after-rescue/9400574
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby ribuck » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 8:04 am

So they "pleaded guilty to walking on a Commonwealth reserve" and were fined heavily. But what was the specific offence? Were they on Uluru at a time when it was closed to climbing, or were they fined for leaving the marked route?
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby north-north-west » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 8:13 am

Apparently for leaving the marked route. Apparently off-track walking is illegal.

Now, given that the 'track', is a dotted line painted on the rock, how much leeway are you given? Can you walk five abreast with one on the line and the others parallel, or does everyone have to keep their feet on the paint lines? And what about the spaces between the paint? Just how far from the marked route is 'off-track'?
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby gayet » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 9:11 am

They left the track for a photo op, couldn't find their way back, and got stuck in a cleft or suchlike. Needed rescue. It would appear that leaving the marked track was the offence most suitable, so they were fined.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby ribuck » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 5:42 pm

north-north-west wrote:Apparently for leaving the marked route.

I couldn't find confirmation of that in any of the reports that I saw. The news reports all mention that the group left the marked route, but don't say that this was the offence they were prosecuted for.

I would have thought the relevent offence might be Trespass onto aboriginal-owned land. But the reference in the reports to "a Commonwealth Reserve" suggests that they were prosecuted under National Park legislation.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby walkerchris77 » Thu 08 Feb, 2018 8:41 pm

If we cant climb the rock anymore will we still have to pay the $50 per car fee to drive near it. Apparently the $50 is to maintain the rock which seems to have done alright so far since the big bang and has nothing to do with supporting the hard work locals.. wife and i climbed it once.. was great. .
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby ribuck » Fri 09 Feb, 2018 12:24 am

walkerchris77 wrote:If we cant climb the rock anymore will we still have to pay the $50 per car fee to drive near it.

Well, yes. There has never been a fee to climb the rock. The fee is a general park entrance fee.
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby pulseevents » Sat 17 Feb, 2018 7:28 pm

While i know this is a hot topic and one that brings peoples emotions out i will weigh in anyway.
Did i climb it? Yes
Would i climb it again? Yes
Have i climbed many hils,mountains and walked in places that were probably once deemed as a sacred site by someone? Yes.
As a creationist my beliefs are that the entire world is a sacred place for all to enjoy as long it is with the respect it deserves.
As hikers and backcountry walkers we all walk in areas that were once troden by the original inhabitants of this land and venture into places that most likley had some significance to someone, should we stop?
Now i will pack away my soap box and await the onslaught.
Just keep putting one in front if the other.

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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby Lamont » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 7:08 pm

A question please.
Do you mean that you will determine the respect it deserves and as such you consider your feelings the arbiter in the matter? Just curious.
This seems to be suggesting you feel you are above the law of the land. Is this the nub of your point?
Also just curious how creationism, in your definition, determines your actions.
I believe the Indigenous people also have a creationist understanding of the world as part of their culture.
Do you believe your version of creationism is the one that should be followed and theirs not? Is this the nub of your point?
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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby stuie88 » Fri 23 Feb, 2018 7:23 pm

This thred mad my brane di

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Re: uluru climbing to be banned from Oct 2019

Postby maddog » Wed 18 Jul, 2018 1:41 pm

I've found this site very informative:

http://righttoclimb.blogspot.com/

Cheers,

Maddog.
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