Rock climbing tour operators continue Summerday Valley access
Friday 30 August, 2019
Tour operators that offer rock climbing and abseiling at Summerday Valley in the Grampians National Park can continue doing so until next year after receiving an extension to their licences.
The extension provides 30 licensed tour operators with continuity across the busy spring and summer seasons, while a review of the national park’s management plan continues.
A licence variation earlier this year provided the tour operators with conditional access to Summerday Valley, with subsequent climbs at the location organised through a booking system. Parks Victoria, in consultation with Traditional Owner groups, has now issued an extension until 31 March 2020.
Strict conditions remain in place at Summerday Valley, which is within one of the national park’s Special Protection Areas – areas in which bushwalking and picnicking are typically the only permitted activities.
These conditions include a limit on operating locations; compulsory completion of an Aboriginal cultural heritage induction program; ongoing 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.
Since announcing it would be enforcing the existing restrictions on recreation activities in Special Protection Areas, which make up around 30 per cent of the national park, Parks Victoria has been undertaking park assessments and progressing the development of a new management plan.
Once complete, the Grampians Landscape Management Plan will outline longer-term direction on how the park is accessed and used for recreation, and provide a framework for environmental conservation; cultural heritage protection, including Aboriginal rock art; tourism opportunities; visitor safety and experience; and management of fire and water catchments.
Community workshops on the new management plan will be held throughout September, registrations for which can be completed online through the Engage Victoria website.
Quotes attributable to Matthew Jackson, Chief Executive Officer–Parks Victoria:
“The Grampians National Park is a very special place. It’s nationally listed for its biodiversity, home to more than 800 indigenous plant species and irreplaceable Aboriginal cultural values.”
“The park is also increasingly popular for recreation, with more and more people visiting each year, which is one of the reasons we’re developing a management plan that will provide a contemporary and longer-term framework for how the park is used.”
“With that process still underway, Parks Victoria and Traditional Owner groups have agreed to extend conditional access to Summerday Valley for existing licensed tour operators who have been using that location. Strict licence conditions will ensure that any harm to natural and cultural values are minimised and monitored.”
“No-impact rock climbing remains permitted in the 100,000 hectares of the park that is outside of Special Protection Areas. Abseiling and rock climbing with a licensed tour operator is a great way to have a safe and supervised visit.”