Want to Climb Uluru? Better Do It Soon

Climbing at sacred Anangu site will be banned in 2019
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2017 9:27 AM CDT
The sun rises over Uluru in Australia in 2014.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)

(Newser) – If your bucket list includes a trek up Australia's sacred monolith Uluru, you'd better get moving. The management board of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park—made up of eight indigenous members and four government officials, per the BBC—voted unanimously Wednesday to ban people from climbing the huge red rock beginning in 2019. The Anangu people have discouraged climbs at Uluru, which they consider sacred, since they took ownership of the site in 1985. Signs were later posted asking that people refrain from climbing in respect to indigenous peoples. Still, the Anangu have long "felt a sense of intimidation" to keep the climb open to 250,000 annual visitors, board Chairman Sammy Wilson tells ABC Australia.

In what appears to have been a compromise, the board unveiled a plan in 2010 that stated climbing would be banned if fewer than 20% of visitors were found to make the trek up Uluru in Australia's Northern Territory, and if alternative draws were created. The board says data now shows 16% of visitors climbed between 2011 and 2015, down from 38% in 2010. The route will therefore be closed permanently on Oct. 26, 2019, the board says. Wilson calls the move "a cause for celebration," noting, "We are not stopping tourism, just this activity," per the AP. The Australian notes the climbing path is already closed for 80% of the year because of "safety issues." At least 35 people have died climbing Uluru since the 1950s, per the BBC. (Uluru was the site of the famous dingo-baby case.)

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