Aboriginal leaders ban tourists from climbing Uluru

Specialist climbers rescued three men who became stuck atop Uluru after climbing the landmark The Northern Territory 2016

Visitors will be barred from climbing the Uluru from October 2019 following a decision by its traditional owners.

"It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland", said board chairman and Anangu man Sammy Wilson.

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.

The unanimous decision to close Uluru to climbers was described as "righting a historic wrong" by David Ross, the director of the Central Land Council.

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

The last day of climbing will be October 26, 2019, chosen because it is the anniversary of the date in 1985 when the land and the formation once called Ayers Rock were handed back to the traditional owners.

'The traditional owners of the rock have had concerns over the years, ' he said.

"If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don't enter or climb it, I respect it". Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration. "Let's come together; let's close it together", he said. According to the board, only 16 per cent of visitors to the national park climbed Uluru from 2011 to 2015. We welcome tourists here.

The site is often closed to climbers after the death of important indigenous figures as a mark of respect.

A sign at the base of Uluru urges visitors to reconsider climbing the sacred site, explaining it is not permitted under traditional law.



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