Australia to ban climbing on Uluru from 2019

Sky News understands tourists will be banned from climbing Uluru on 26 October 2019

Some 60,000 people a year ignored this plea and climbed anyway, but the board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park has now voted unanimously to put a stop to the controversial practice.

Indigenous Australians have also complained about visitors urinating on the rock, potentially contaminating water sources.

The latest statistics showed just 16 per cent of tourists climb Uluru, paving the way for the closure.

"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".

And in the US, visitors are asked to stay off the Devils Tower National Monument in June each year "out of respect for traditional cultural activities of American Indians".

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In the Anangu tradition, Uluru is a sacred place and climbing it is inherently disrespectful.

The park board in 2010 indicated it would close the formation to climbing if the activity was declining and if other park experiences were attracting visitors.

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. Moreover, extreme heat and a lack of toilet facilities mean that large amounts of evaporated, concentrated human urine flow into the area's waterholes whenever it rains.

More than 30 people have died attempting the climb, which is often closed during periods of high temperatures or weather. The walking tracks on the rock could be removed, and steep fines levied for people who step on Uluru. (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.

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