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HomeIssue 9Rock climb to be closed for good

Rock climb to be closed for good

p2207-Rock-climb-2The Central Land Council has welcomed the “long overdue” decision by the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park board of management to close the climb to the summit of Uluru for good.
“The CLC congratulates the board on righting a historic wrong,” said CLC director David Ross.
“This decision has been a very long time coming and our thoughts are with the elders who have longed for this day but are no longer with us to celebrate it.”
Mr Ross said while Anangu board members agreed to delay the date of the climb’s actual closure for another two years the balance of power is slowly shifting.
After agonising about people climbing the sacred site since the 1930s, its Anangu traditional owners recently reaffirmed their long-standing desire to close the climb during consultations by the CLC.
“Some people, in tourism and government for example, might have been saying we need to keep it open but it’s not their law that lies in this land,” said CLC executive member Sammy Wilson, who also chairs the jointly managed park’s board and runs a small tourism business.
“It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland. We want you to come, hear us and learn. We’ve been thinking about this for a very long time,” Mr Wilson said.
p2499 Rock Sam WilsonMr Wilson (right) takes visitors to his family’s homeland near the park to watch the sunset and they often ask him why Anangu don’t close the climb.
“Why this decision wasn’t made decades ago is a fair question,” Mr Ross said.
“Anangu have genuinely struggled to accommodate many powerful competing interests and have faced massive pressure.”
Mr Wilson said the traditional owners have been in a difficult position and are glad their wishes have prevailed at last.
“Over the years Anangu have felt a sense of intimidation, as if someone is holding a gun to our heads to keep it open. Please don’t hold us to ransom. This decision is for both Anangu and non-Anangu to feel proud about,” he said.
Mr Ross said while Anangu board members agreed to delay the date of the climb’s actual closure for another two years the balance of power is slowly shifting.
“Today’s decision to close the climb was unthinkable only 10 years ago.”
Mr Ross said if fledgling Anangu tourism plans, especially in the vast Indigenous Protected Area surrounding the national park, receive the assistance they need to get off the ground nobody will miss the climb.
“There is so much else besides that in the culture here,” said Mr Wilson “If we have the right support to take tourists outside [the park] it will benefit everyone.
“We have a lot to offer in this country. So instead of tourists feeling disappointed … they can experience the homelands with Anangu and really enjoy the fact that they learnt so much more about culture.”




  1. Well said Mr Wilson, I do feel proud that the decision has been taken.
    I worked for CLC in the 80s, and then in tourism, and the “gun” was definitely there. It was feared that the tourism industry would pressure the NT and the Feds if the climb was closed then.
    A later conservative government may have changed the Land Rights Act to prevent it, and seriously weakened the Act overall.
    The Board, with the then chair, the very astute, late Yami Lester, took the long game to change attitudes and give the industry time to adapt. The policy has borne fruit.
    It is sad that Yami did not live to see it.

  2. At last, why has it taken so long and why not an immediate closure?
    People will be scrambling to climb in the next two years.

  3. I am sure this will change again when they see the money drop form visitor numbers and I am sure there will be NO drop in entry fee!

  4. This decision to close the climb has been a long anticipated and could only have been made by the board of the national park.
    To give the extended time for closure, not only to give the tourism industry, for which not only the park but the many artist in the surrounding communities rely on to generate income, time to adjust to change, and for it to coincide with the hand back date of the park, is fantastic.
    There are opportunities now for fledgling Anangu tourism plans to establish not only in the national park, but also the vast areas around the national park, giving visitors new experiences and creating jobs in the area.
    This seems to have the great support of the CLC.
    It would have been great to have further details of these experiences so visitors would know what great things lie ahead.
    Also HOW SOON would they have the assistance to get off the ground?


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