Climbing Uluru will be banned from October 2019, after the board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park unanimously agreed to prohibit climbers.
Currently climbing is not banned, but the traditional owners of the land, Anangu, would prefer people not climb Uluru. According to Parks Australia, the climb was the traditional route taken by the Mala (wallaby) people on their arrival at Uluru from up north, and the path is of great significance to Anangu.
The board announced in 2010 that it would close the climb once the proportion of visitors to Uluru who chose to ascend the rock fell below 20%. According to reports, at that time it was 38%, down from 74% in the 1990s, but as of 2015, it was down to 16.2%.
Board chairman and Uluru traditional owner Sammy Wilson said in a statement that it was time to close the climb.
"We’ve talked about it for so long and now we’re able to close the climb," he said. "It’s about protection through combining two systems, the government and Anangu.
“This decision is for both Anangu and non-Anangu together to feel proud about; to realise, of course it’s the right thing to close it."
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is jointly managed by Anangu and the Director of National Parks, and was handed back to Anangu in 1985 by the then-Hawke Labor government. Part of the hand back agreement resulted in the land being leased out to National Parks for 99 years.
The date the climb will close, October 26, 2019, will be 34 years to the day since Uluru was given back to the traditional owners.
Josh Taylor is a Senior Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Josh Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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