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01 July 2020
Parks Victoria will continue to allow licensed tour operators offering rock-climbing and abseiling conditional access to Summerday Valley in Grampians National Park.
A new agreement includes a voluntary code of conduct designed to help tour operators and their customers better recognise, protect and respect the area’s Aboriginal cultural heritage.
With the support of Traditional Owners, authorities provided conditional access for the tour operators to operate in Summerday Valley, an area protected because of its natural and cultural values.
Under the new arrangements tour operators are now also required to hold a Cultural Heritage Permit which sets out requirements for them to operate in the area.
While operating in Summerday Valley, other licence conditions include defined operating locations; compulsory completion of an Aboriginal cultural heritage induction program; education for operators and their tour groups; identification for tour guides and their customers; use of a booking system to manage and monitor access; and reporting of visitor data to help with planning and review.
The new licences provide access to operate in Summerday Valley until a new management plan for the Grampians landscape is finalised or June 30, 2021, whichever is first.
Non-impact climbing is permitted in more than two thirds of the park outside Special Protection Areas.
The Grampians, also known as Gariwerd, is home to the largest number of known significant and ancient Aboriginal rock art sites in southern Australia, some dating back more than 20,000 years.
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There are about 200 rock-art sites recorded in Grampians National Park, many of which are under rock overhangs.
Parks Victoria western Victoria regional director Jason Borg said Grampians National Park contained precious environmental and cultural values that society had a responsibility to protect.
“People visiting the park and wishing to climb can do so respectfully by staying out of Special Protection Areas or taking a tour with an appropriately qualified and approved licensed tour operator," he said.