Climbing to be banned on sacred Australian rock

For years, visitors to Uluru - Australia's iconic sandstone rock - have been greeted with a trail to the top and a sign with a simple request: "Please don't climb".

The board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park voted unanimously to end the climb because of indigenous sensitivities, the BBC reported.

"It has cultural significance that includes certain restrictions and so this is as much as we can say".

"The chair of the board, traditional owner Sammy Wilson, made an impassioned speech to the board before the vote, describing the pressure he and other Indigenous people felt over the issue".

It also warns of the dangers of climbing Uluru, including that many have died while scaling the rock. We want you to come, hear us, and learn.

"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".

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The red monolith is in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, near Alice Springs, 1,300 miles north west of Sydney.

"Some people in tourism and government for example might have been saying we need to keep it open but it's not their law that lies in this land", he said.

The rock's board said in a report in 2010 that they would close the attraction to climbers if the proportion of visitors who tried to climb the rock dropped below 20 percent.

"They are very focused on ensuring this cultural decision is a good decision for them culturally and the impact on employment".

The ban will take effect on October 26, 2019.

Uluru has around 300,000 visitors each year with Australian tourists the most likely to climb the rock followed by the Japanese, according to the park's figures.

  • Rita Burton