What has the VCC have achieved so far towards Protecting Victoria's climbing future?In 1998, we took the lead by employing Australia's first professional Access & Environment Officer. Since then, the VCC Access Officer has helped us to:
1. Maintain a strong and attractive public presence for our CliffCare projects through poster displays in gyms and shops.This has produced a dramatic growth in the number of climbers supporting the club and joining in our work parties.
2. Make direct personal contact with land managers. By building relationships with rangers, we have been able to find practical solutions before major access problems arise. This has included:
Getting support from climbers for an access moratorium on cliffs near the home of the last Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies in the Grampians, while keeping open the popular cliff at Mt Fox.
working with local Kooris to protect art sites at Black Ian's Rocks,
Siting of new tracks to Mt Rosea and the Gallery.
Re-opening cliffs on the east side of Flinders Peak in the You Yangs.
Continuing negotiations for re-opening Hanging Rock to climbers.
3. Organise work parties to repair damage at Mount Arapiles, Camels Hump and Summer Day Valley.Projects are underway at several locations and hundreds of people have volunteered for more than a dozen workdays over the past two years. We have received more than $10,000 from Parks Victoria for work at Werribee Gorge. John's work has meant that we have consistently succeeded with our grant applications.
With support from the Conservation Alliance, Parks Victoria and many of you we have been undertaking the CliffCare Arapiles Repair Project.
During 2001 and 2002, we have been completing stone terracing below the Organ Pipes, repairing the track up to the Muldoon area and closing many unnecessary and ugly walking tracks to and from the Pines We are also beginning an experimental weed control and native grass regeneration plot along the base of the Organ Pipes.
4. Prevent access problems caused by land manager fears about their liability for climbing accidents.We have reinforced the message that no land manager in the US, the UK or Australia has ever been successfully sued for negligence in relation to a climbing accident. Liability fears often centre on bolting. We engaged CSIRO to test common Australian bolting techniques. With these results, we are helping Parks Victoria to develop a pragmatic policy that recognises that limited use of bolts can reduce environmental impact and improve safety. A sensible policy on bolts is a vital step towards dealing with environmental damage at many popular cliffs used by commercial and school groups, re-opening Tongue Point at Wilson's Prom, and lessening ranger anxiety about climbing across the state.
5. Educate climbers about sharing the cliffs with other species. How can climbers affect Peregrine Falcons? We have sought advice from the experts and published detailed information about the way these spectacular birds nest and breed. This helps climbers to understand the purpose of seasonal cliff closures.