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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 4 of 7. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 100 | 101 to 120 | 121 to 122
Author
Mt Arapiles development plans
patto
27/10/2010
12:58:29 PM
On 27/10/2010 bones wrote:
>Are there examples where a popular climbing campground has been abandoned
>due to these kinds of changes? Stapylton and Buffalo wouldn't really count
>as they attract large numbers of non climbers.
>What about Frog? Has that campground less popular now that it has a booking
>system and allocated sites? (I've read about Vic dirtbags spending months
>at time up there in the old days but it was empty when I was there!)
>
>Any close examples would support the argument against Araps development

Campground abandonment is hardly the concern at araps. The concern is that these plans may make camping more difficult for climbers with little or no benefit to others.
bones
27/10/2010
2:13:14 PM
On 27/10/2010 patto wrote:
>Campground abandonment is hardly the concern at araps. The concern is
>that these plans may make camping more difficult for climbers with little
>or no benefit to others.

Obviously not abandonment at araps, but wouldn't marked sites with online booking make it tough for the dirtbags?
patto
27/10/2010
2:37:19 PM
Dirt bags will survive. Marked sites with online bookings will push the dirt bags into other locations. That is exactly what happens at Yosemite. But at least they have 30 or more rangers patrolling the damn place.

What goals are achieved by introducing online bookings and marked sites?
ZERO
27/10/2010
2:52:52 PM
I have also spoken to a senior PV person on this, and although PV have no plans for any major development on land they manage. they have no control over what happens on adjoining private property.

However, I think we are all living in Cloud Cuckoo Land if we expect The Pines and adjoining camp/picnic areas to remain as a monument to the lycra brigade of the 1980s.
Things will eventually change, and we may have to climb over a few sleeping bods on ledges during those early morning multi-pitch climbs.

Apathy will not be the best response to management.
Be vocal, but be informed first.

Zebedee
27/10/2010
11:27:59 PM
http://www.hrcc.vic.gov.au/attachments/245_1)%20Draft%20-%20Planning%20Scheme%20Review%20August%202010.pdf
Planning scheme (draft) that relates to Arapiles pg 125
"The policy notes the attraction of the park
and that it will continue to create demand for tourist services in the area and
indicates that the lack of development around the mountain assists to maintain the
wilderness experience for visitors and ensures visitors make use of services and
facilities in Natimuk."
simey
28/10/2010
8:26:15 AM
On 27/10/2010 stealth wrote:
>However, I think we are all living in Cloud Cuckoo Land if we expect The Pines and adjoining camp/picnic areas to remain as a monument to the lycra brigade of the 1980s.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility. As pointed out earlier in this thread, look at the example of Camp 4 in Yosemite. This excerpt is from Wikipedia...

Camp 4 was the site of ongoing friction between climbers and the National Park Service. The conflict came to a head in 1997, when flooding in Yosemite Valley destroyed many employee housing units. The Park Service proposed to build a three story dormitory complex at Camp 4. Tom Frost played a critical role in the fight to save Camp 4. He filed a lawsuit against the National Park Service to save the historic rockclimber's campsite, and convinced the American Alpine Club to support the suit. The effort was successful. .[2] On February 21, 2003, Camp 4 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for "its significant association with the growth and development of rock climbing in the Yosemite Valley during the 'golden years' of pioneer mountaineering".[3]

Mt Arapiles will be celebrating 50 years of climbing pretty soon. No other cliff in the country has played a bigger role in either introducing people to climbing, or in helping to push new standards (probably every increase in difficulty from grade 25 to 32 first happened at Arapiles). Throughout that period the campground has been an integral part of the experience of climbing at Arapiles. For many climbers, living at Arapiles has been a rites of passage. The campgrounds signficance with regard its association with the growth and development of climbing in this country shouldn't be under estimated.


Eduardo Slabofvic
28/10/2010
8:30:52 AM
On 27/10/2010 Zebedee wrote:
>http://www.hrcc.vic.gov.au/attachments/245_1)%20Draft%20-%20Planning%20Scheme%20Review%20A
>gust%202010.pdf

It also says
"The objectives of the policy seek to maintain and enhance the environmental and
recreational qualities and attributes of the park; encourage the provision of
services for visitors within Natimuk Township; and ensure that tourist related
development occurring outside of Natimuk complies with stringent aesthetic and
environmental criteria."

Submissions close on this review next Monday

Li
28/10/2010
9:50:16 AM
So apart from all the interesting opinions/thoughts from everyone, is there anything active happening to try and preserve the campground for climbers? Have we got a group of lobbyists together. I would like to help in some way - even though I'm now miles away from my favorite climbing spot!
widewetandslippery
28/10/2010
10:13:13 AM
Isn't camp4 a cluster to stay these days? Don't the modern lycra mob largely camp illegally? Just because something is socially treasured doesn't make it useful. Fortunately Vic rangers don't have guns and the few I've met at araps have been good blokes. Unfortunately the good blokes are largely out of the decision making process.
dalai
28/10/2010
10:46:59 AM
Now I've sold my Kombi camper, cabins in the Pines would be a great idea...

Eduardo Slabofvic
28/10/2010
10:50:19 AM
On 28/10/2010 dalai wrote:
>Now I've sold my Kombi camper, cabins in the Pines would be a great idea...

..... and I've built a house in Natimuk, so anything that reduces the number of people camping at the Mount could only be a good thing. Right?
singersmith
28/10/2010
12:53:37 PM
Camp 4 is indeed a nightmare to stay in these days; I've actually never actually spent a night there (have slept in a SAR tent though). Most of the modern lycra mob bivy outside the Valley now in the two private developments, akin to driving back to Nati. The C4 boulders don't host many permanent residents, mostly seasonals who are going to get busted and secretly crave the street cred. The Valley is a big place with a free shuttle bus and bikes paths, it's easy to find your own piece of solitude.

The Pines does have a charming sense of freedom and a great value to price ratio (vis-a-vis C4), but there are some issues that are unlikely to sort themselves out in an ideal fashion (water, sewage, impact, growth). I had a long chat with the one of the rangers recently about the problems they struggle with and the ones they can't even keep up with (men's bathroom disaster, festy sponge collection at wash block, ceaseless fire pit propagation). I loathe bureaucratic camping as much as the next guy, but I also think whether these suggestions (thanks for the summary, Wendy) arise from "over spill" or not is irrelevant as it is undeniably an area of high and growing use and a community solution would be great to see happen. As a new comer, I haven't gathered what exactly the climbing community is lobbying for here, just sticking to the staus quo?

The word "camping" currently covers quite a broad range of activity from sleeping on the back seat of your car to splaying out in a tarp city for five months complete with "GO PIES" banners and a 12v lava lamp. I think there should be a push to designate bivying from camping and have separate sites. When your have not just hard rubbish but the piles of abandoned trash in camp 100 metres from a row of trash cans it's time for someone to step in and do something. How do you force low-impact practices?

If I had the money and the authority, my solution would be to have a centralized community stone hut (octagonal, partitioned, stove/oven/fireplace in each segment) and make most of the current campground a day use public area. Obviously, this comes with a fire ban for campsites which would help self police the wood gathering problem and make it easier to collect/dispose of ash. Designated, marked bivy sites with body limits from 2-6 (can close singles sites and/or rotate them around mountain to revegetate). Doesn't have to mean allocated as far as booking goes- for bivy sites. I'd also designate a car camping (van people) lot and caravans/family campers/school groups would get their own special ghetto and booking system. With a centralized fire/cooking hut your campsite would be where you go for quiet and sleep. I know it's blasphemous, but the attachment to the actual "Pines" is starting to look quixotic; my understanding is that the natives are going to take decades to grow (probably why Noddy's grandmum planted what she did). There could be a multi-decade gap of shadeless oppression in which nobody is going to elbow for a spot there.

There's only going to be more climbers and tourists in the future. Without a sustainable solution what will happen is dirtbags/biviers getting priced out of the market and forced to go renegade or into town. Maybe there needs to be a climbers campground/club separate from tourists?
dalai
28/10/2010
2:24:34 PM
On 28/10/2010 Eduardo Slabofvic wrote:
>..... and I've built a house in Natimuk, so anything that reduces the
>number of people camping at the Mount could only be a good thing. Right?

Nati is too far away from the mount! There needs to be a subdivision released somewhere near the entrance to the pines. Could be called West Natimuk. ;-)

Eduardo Slabofvic
28/10/2010
2:33:56 PM
You raise a number of good points (above), and I think your on the right track as saying something has to give and putting forward ideas of how things can continue is a constructive way of doing this.

My gripe is two fold. Firstly, the planning of this exercise is proceeding without any engagement with the local community (Natimuk and surrounds) or with the main user group (climbers).

Secondly reducing the size of the camp ground cannot (in my opinion) lead to an increase in visitors. Improving the functioning of the campground may be (probably is) required; so I would support that. Simey said it well earlier when he said that camping in the Pines is part of the attraction of the place, so reducing the ability to do so, will reduce the attractiveness and consequently the number of visitors.

More people visit Victoria to go to Mt Arapiles than they do to go to the State Gallery. The vast majority of those visitors are climbers; and camping in the pines is part of the experience that they are coming for.

If someone wants to build a tourist facility, then let them and see if it can stand up by itself. The Block Study says the following on page 2 (and reiterated on page 17)

"Potential development sites for a new accommodation facility to cater for visitors to the Park were
identified at five sites within and adjacent to the Park. These sites were at the golf course, Declaration
Crag, ‘‘The Pines’’, adjacent freehold land and Mitre Rock. The financial feasibility of such an operation was assessed and the study concludes that there is limited scope for new commercial development associated with the Park due to the highly seasonal patterns of use and limited total returns for capital invested. A key issue in determining whether or not an accommodation facility would succeed is the competition from the much cheaper option to camp at the Park. In order to improve the viability of an accommodation facility, the study concludes that any new facility would have to be located in the prime location with direct access to the main rock climbing areas. This would involve closure and relocation of ‘‘The Pines’’ campground. Such an option is not recommended as it is clear that it would be unacceptable to both the core market group (climbers) and the local community."

But regardless of this, Tourism Vic, Parks Vic and Council seem to be determined to proceed with the accommodation, hence it must be concluded that the "cheaper option to camp at the Park" is to be altered somehow (see quote from Block Study, above). And these decisions are being made without consultation.





wombly
28/10/2010
3:29:12 PM
Parceling up the campground into little squares that are 'mine' would have a huge impact on the social vibe in the pines. Notwithstanding the potential for bureaucratic creep to the rest of the year, what about the idea of a restriction on the number of camping permits during busy weekends? Camping there at Easter (for me anyway) is generally not a Good Friday decision, so booking online ahead of time wouldn't be such an issue for my experience. Book online, print out the permit, display it from one of the new fangled mobile computers or collect a camping docket and fill out your permit number. From my patch of the pines, not too high a price to pay to preserve the experience we currently enjoy.
ZERO
28/10/2010
3:40:12 PM
On 28/10/2010 Eduardo Slabofvic wrote:
>But regardless of this, Tourism Vic, Parks Vic and Council seem to be
>determined to proceed with the accommodation, hence it must be concluded
>that the "cheaper option to camp at the Park" is to be altered somehow
>(see quote from Block Study, above). And these decisions are being made
>without consultation.
>
From what I understand from the mouths of senior local PV management, they have no interest in developing hard accommodation within the park.

The scary part about Tourism Vic is that they are now headed by PVs recently retired CEO, Mark Stone. Am not sure of his agenda, but he is a very shrewd operator.
>
A lot of this boils down to whether anyone is willing to financially back such an investment.
>
ZERO
28/10/2010
4:23:33 PM
On 28/10/2010 wombly wrote:
Camping there at Easter (for me anyway) is generally not a Good Friday decision,
>so booking online ahead of time wouldn't be such an issue for my experience.

The issue with a booking system that it requires guaranteed vacant sites.
Considering the numbers of people who stay mid to long term, and those who come and go depending on the weather forecasts, it would be very difficult to maintain harmony.
Booking systems are great for people on fixed term vacations, but are a nightmare for internationals and those of us with the luxury of time.
I recently had an experience in QLD where I booked camping over the phone. The phone call cost more than my 5 nights camping fees.

Most climbers know that Easter is the busiest time in the Pines, and prepare accordingly.

And what if we have another declared "catastrophic" fire day and everyone is expected to vacate the park for 24+ hours?


ajfclark
28/10/2010
4:27:55 PM
That's exactly what goes on at Lake Catani at the moment. If you don't plan well ahead (ie book in September for January) you don't get a booking peak times. Sure, it keeps the numbers down, but it's a huge PITA for people and it really requires a ranger to patrol it to be effective.

If a catastrophic day is declared, too bad so sad, your $22.50 for that day is gone. Go have a beer in Bright and try and find accommodation down there on short notice...

wombly
28/10/2010
5:20:14 PM
>Most climbers know that Easter is the busiest time in the Pines, and prepare >accordingly.

Agreed there, anyone who wants piece and quiet at that time of year is always going to be disappointed, booking system or not. However, Wendy has pointed out that the powers that be are using the campsite expansion that occurs during this time to bring in something that none of the existing users really want, so it's not just about what we think.

>The issue with a booking system that it requires guaranteed vacant sites.
>Considering the numbers of people who stay mid to long term, and those who come >and go depending on the weather forecasts, it would be very difficult to maintain >harmony.

The idea isn't so much to reserve a particular patch of ground - too much hassle there indeed. More like having a permit system for the entire campground, and only issuing permits for X number of people, with X to be determined through consultation with the climbing community. So permanent residents won't get booted because someone else has booked 'their' site.

>Booking systems are great for people on fixed term vacations, but are a nightmare for >internationals and those of us with the luxury of time. I recently had an experience in >QLD where I booked camping over the phone. The phone call cost more than my 5 >nights camping fees.

I can certainly understand the issue re booking ahead of time - if it was still my local crag (I'm in NSW at present) I'd hate for this to operate all year round. Deciding whether it's worth heading up based on the forecast is clearly an important part of the experience. However, if it only ran one or two weekends a year (e.g. easter and anzac), it shouldn't be too onerous. As for the cost of the call, there's a phone box with a minute's walk of the crapper, so a local or 13XXXX number that you could call and score a permit wouldn't be too much to ask. Sh1t, you could even have a system that allocated 50 of the permits to those who were able to write their name on a list at the noticeboard at the toilets, and have the rangers collect it and assign permit #s a week before the permit period began.


dazasterplan
28/10/2010
7:18:04 PM
Great to see some crew arcing up over the fervid tide of development
Recognize that this is just the "Loser Pays" system which superseded the user pays system some years ago, when profit oriented eco-cliques set about revising the meaning of terms such as wilderness!
You know you just don't have to pay in the end to camp
The Parks initiative is just a 'statute'; not common law
Has served me well as a legal vehicle for 20 yrs.
Not to say i won't support a govt initiative financially, i cant think of a any right now..
I am morbidly fascinated about the frilly margins of the development; will there be monogrammed mountain towels, snow globes and endangered plastic objects, maybe Nati can start the big memorabilia machine up first

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