We have received a report that Parks Victoria rangers in the Grampians National Park, approached a rock climber at Taipan Wall North on the opening weekend, Sunday 18.12.2022. The climber was following all the new recommendations after the wall had been previously closed for 2 years.
After a period of friendly conversation, one of the rangers took the conversation in a serious direction and read out the legal rights to the climber: “anything you say may be used against you in evidence”.
The ranger explained: “we can do this the easy way or the hard way.” The climber chose an interview on the track below Taipan Wall. The hard way was not specified.
The ranger’s questions related to recent sightings of the climber’s car within the Grampians National Park, and they advised: “Your face matches the vehicle owner details”. The climber’s car had been parked on public roads at various locations and had been noted to contain climbing equipment.
After further discussion, the climber was given a caution for not presenting photo ID, then released without charge.
We have also received a recent report of a boulderer being challenged by rangers for bouldering at a nearby location, The Citadel. The rangers were duly informed that The Citadel is not restricted in any way and the rangers left without further incident.
Climbers and boulderers would be wise to avoid ranger interactions at this time. We would advise staying completely silent under any questioning of a threatening nature. If pressed, it would be prudent to say only: “I want a lawyer”.
It is likely that a formal complaint will be made about the behaviour of these rangers, to ensure that Parks Victoria management policy is adjusted in line with Australian law. In 2019, ACAV made a formal complaint about ranger behaviour, after heavy handed practices were implemented over the 2019 Labor Day weekend.
There was no further intimidating behaviour during 2019 – 2022 until this recent event. The affected parties are now considering their next steps.
ACAV remains available to assist in the implementation of the Victorian Climbing Management Guidelines.
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