Parks Victoria (PV) and the Climbing Victoria Advisory Council (CVAC) continue to meet and had their fifth formal meeting on 22 November 2022. The following summarises key updates and clarifications that were provided in that meeting.
Update on crag assessments
Parks Victoria has agreed to assess an additional 50 climbing areas in Gariwerd following the release of the Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan. These assessments to be undertaken with Traditional Owners will allow Parks Victoria to determine if these areas can be designated as climbing areas or not. CVAC in consultation with the rock climbing community determined 50 priority areas for these assessments. These areas had to be from the list of previously unassessed sites, and not re-assessing already determined areas.
Parks Victoria accepted the 50 priority areas submitted by CVAC in May 2022, and has agreed to assess them in the 2022/23 financial year. The aim is to complete the assessments and determine which sites will be designated as climbing areas or non-climbing areas by May 2023.
Update on Taipan Wall
Parks Victoria and CVAC are working together to prepare Taipan Wall for reopening. The climbing area has been assessed and found to have cultural values. However, through discussions with Traditional Owners, who worked with the Gariwerd Wimmera Reconciliation Network, alternate access points and other mitigation measures were identified and agreed as suitable for allowing access to the northern section of the wall.
Parks Victoria has completed on-ground work required to protect cultural values including walking track realignments and, in early December, members of the climbing community under the auspices of CVAC completed a volunteer activity in the presence of PV personnel to remove fixed protection and climbing infrastructure that can no longer be accessed.
CVAC has also provided support by reviewing public information that will help climbers understand the access and route changes.
The reopening of the left half of Taipan Wall is imminent and more detailed information about how and where you can climb at Taipan Wall will be provided when it is reopened.
Traditional Owners have supported a nuanced approach to protecting cultural heritage values at Taipan Wall. This will allow climbing to occur within close proximity of culturally sensitive locations.
Climbing in these areas is a privilege, not a right and when the area is reopened it is requested that climbers treat the exclusion areas with the utmost respect and do not enter them. This will ensure that the climbing areas at Taipan Wall that are about to be reopened remain so.
Update on rock climbing permits
Parks Victoria is continuing to develop a rock climbing permit for Gariwerd, as per the Management Plan direction. This permit will be a free online permit that climbers will have to renew every two years.
The key purpose of the permit is to:
- provide education to all that climb about the changed conditions for climbing in Gariwerd
- enable compliance where people do the wrong thing
- provide the ability to effectively communicate with climbers if conditions change.
Parks Victoria hopes to commence user testing in coming months and will involve climbing representatives including members of CVAC in the testing. The aim is to have the permit system finalised and rolled out during 2023.
CVAC has also noted its interest in the ongoing process at Dyurrite and will keep the wider climbing community informed of any updates.
Update on proposed new regulations for 52 Metropolitan and Regional Parks in Victoria
On 8 December, members of the Climbing Victoria Advisory Council, Bushwalking Victoria and Outdoors Victoria met with representatives from DELWP and Parks Victoria to discuss the proposed new regulations for Metropolitan and Regional Parks in Victoria. One of those key to climbers is Mount Macedon. We were able to restate our concerns with the proposed regulations as they currently stand. With all the feedback received during the public consultation phase there is potential some changes may be made after the department briefs the new Minister for Environment, Minister Stitt, and this will be revealed sometime in the first quarter of 2023.