Grampians Walking Tracks Support Group

This group, which sits under the Community Association of Halls Gap, share our enthusiasm for the Grampians. I asked the president David Witham (who is also a FOGG member) to tell us a bit about what they do and what some of their plans are.

For a number of years the Group has been accumulating money from its donation boxes situated at strategic points around the National Park and organising working bees with various bushwalking clubs to help maintain the tracks.   Perhaps surprisingly we have had difficulty in spending much of that money on projects within the Park.

Parks management have now developed a proposal to which we are happy to contribute.    Summer Day Valley, accessed from the walking track to Hollow Mountain, has been the most popular single area for rockclimbing in the Grampians for the last 25 years or so.    In particular it has been used intensively by instructional groups, as well as by individual climbers, on account of its wealth of attractive, single pitch climbs.

This heavy usage has created constant environmental problems which have been a concern not only to conservationists and Parks management but also to the majority of climbers themselves.    Various efforts have been made over the years to contain the wear and tear, harden the sites and rationalise the informal tracks that have developed between them but, while many improvements have been made, none have been completely successful.

The area was burned out in the January fires and PV have now put forward a plan to address the major problems on a permanent basis, engaging  professional contractors to spearhead the work and appealing for voluntary help to support them.    I am sure that such help will be forthcoming.

Since the Support Group’s money has been donated by ordinary tourists who are enjoying the walks that the Park has to offer, and the above scheme is primarily in the interests of a single user group, I have been reluctant to commit too large a proportion of our funds to help it.   Having spent most of my life in the climbing world I have therefore launched an appeal to the user groups to support the project both financially and in kind.    It is early days yet but initial signs are hopeful.

Having got the ball rolling, the SupportGroup and Parks management are now beginning to look at other ways of using our funds.   A proposal that I would particularly like to see enacted is the reopening of the Delleys Dell track and making it part of a circular walk from Rosea car park.   Such a track would be very much in the interests of the ordinary, active tourist, as well as all who love the National Park.

David Witham