Published: Thu, November 02, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Climbing Uluru will be banned from 2019

Climbing Uluru will be banned from 2019

The traditional owners of Uluru will today decide whether or not to close the rock permanently to climbers.

"It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland."

Because of that significance, the park's board voted unanimously Wednesday to ban people from climbing Uluru.

The closure is possible under the terms of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Management Plan 2010-2020, which said it can be closed if the proportion of climbers falls below 20 per cent. According to the board, only 16 per cent of visitors to the national park climbed Uluru from 2011 to 2015.

"Over the years (traditional owners) Anangu have felt a sense of intimidation as if someone is holding a gun to our heads to keep it open".

Parks Australia says more than 250,000 people visit the park each year. "Please don't hold us to ransom", a traditional owner of Uluru, Sammy Wilson, said.

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Wilson, who is the park's board chairman, said visitors still would be welcomed.

Uluru's land title was handed back to its traditional owners in 1985, but was immediately leased to the Australian federal government to be jointly managed as a national park for 99 years.

The Anangu have long requested that Uluru not be climbed, as they believe it's a deeply sacred men's site - and that they have a cultural responsibility for the number of climber deaths and injuries.

(She said it was "a tribute to the greatness of the Rock", not an act of disrespect.) There have also been reports of people defecating on the sacred site.

Australia's world-famous Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, will be closed to climbers from 2019.

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