Management and protection strategies
The Australian government, in conjunction with Anangu people, created a joint management plan to conserve and protect the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It is active from 2010 to 2020. Anangu and Parks Australia staff have worked together to manage the park, aiming to maintain Anangu culture and heritage, conserve and protect the integrity of the ecological systems in and around the park, and provide for visitor enjoyment and learning opportunities within the park. In 1985, the traditional owners of the land signed a lease agreement that ensures that the Director of National Parks:
• has an Anangu majority on the Board of Management
• encourages the maintenance of Anangu tradition through protection of sacred sites and other areas of significance
• maximises Anangu involvement in park administration and management, and provides necessary training
• delivers training programs to Anangu to enable them to take up employment in the park
• maximises Anangu employment in the park by accommodating Anangu needs and cultural obligations with flexible working conditions
• uses Anangu traditional skills in park management
• actively supports the delivery of cross-cultural training by Anangu to park staff, local residents and park visitors
• consults regularly with Anangu
• encourages Anangu commercial activities in the park
• makes rental payments to the members of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta lands trust
• maintains the park to best practice standards
• involves Anangu in staff selection
Back burning is also an important part of Uluru-Kata Tjuta park management. Many of the plants rely on fire to regenerate. Fire encourages bush foods to grow and flushes out game. Burning also reduces fuel loads, preventing the risk of large wildfires. When burning, rangers are guided by traditional owners, using knowledge and western science to improve the health of the park.
Although climbing Uluru is not prohibited, tourists have been encouraged not to climb as it is an important sacred sight for the Aboriginals. Climbing Uluru can be quite dangerous and is physically demanding. Also, climbing Uluru can have environmental impacts. By climbing, you are eroding the rock, and the climb has already been worn smooth. Each step a climber takes changes the face of Uluru. In 2010 the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board of management decided to start working towards closing the climb for cultural, safety and environmental reasons. They won't permanently close the climb without significant industry consultation and until they have alternative experiences in place for visitors. Most of the people who visit Uluru today choose not to climb. They choose not to climb for many reasons, including their own fitness, but most people say it is out of respect for Anangu.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is World Heritage listed for both natural and cultural values.
Evaluation of effectiveness of strategies
I think that the management and protection strategies put in place are working. The Australian government, along with the Anangu people are working together effectively to maintain Anangu culture and heritage, conserve and protect the integrity of the ecological systems in and around the park, and provide for visitor enjoyment and learning opportunities within the park. These strategies are working because the Australian government and the Anangu people are working together, they would not make any progress in protecting the park if they were not working together. The fact that many people come to to visit Uluru and choose not climb shows that they are making a difference and that their strategies are working. Also, they are improving the health of the land through not only education but through back burning. Back burning is reducing the amount of risk of a large wildfire and allows many plants to regenerate. The Australian government and the Anangu people are working well together to conserve and manage Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.