From THE AUSTRALIAN
An indigenous heritage crackdown threatens to devastate rock climbing in the sport’s heartland.
For decades Mount Arapiles, in western Victoria, has been the focus of traditional climbing in Australia, with its thousands of routes above the Wimmera plains attracting a global following.
But indigenous groups will soon begin a heritage survey of the area, which will almost certainly show a strong historical connection that could trigger restrictions on climbing. The survey will follow Parks Victoria imposing cultural heritage bans across large areas of the nearby Grampians National Park, closing an estimated 500sq km to climbing, leading to chaos in the industry and undermining adventure tourism.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council chief executive Michael Stewart said it would be up to the traditional owners to determine what to do if it was established that climbing occurred in culturally sensitive areas.