Uluru is a massive monolith in the Northern Territory, Australia. Uluru has the longitude of 25.3444° South and latitude of 131.0369° East. At 384 m high, 3.6 km long and 1.9 km wide, it is the largest monolith in the world. Traditionally owned by the Anangu people, Uluru has many spiritual meanings and stories about how it was created. Most of these have been published into proper children's books called Dreamtime stories with illustrations explaining the creation tales. Uluru is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Australia, with roughly 400, 000 tourists visiting, it generating millions of dollars per year. There are many different tours available, such as segway tours, camel rides around it, walking around it, quad bike tours, the controversial Uluru climb and many other accommodation packages.
Map of Australia and Uluru placement
Uluru was originally one massive rock covering the area between it and Kata Tjuta. Millions of years ago, erosion, weathering and movement of tectonic plates began to wear down the middle of the giant rock. What we are able to see now is the ends of this rock, sticking up out of the ground. This remaining ends are made from stronger rock that the part that does not exist anymore. Uluru is made of arkose, a coarse grained sandstone rich in the mineral feldspar. Whereas Kata Tijuta is made of conglomerate. Which is like a gravel consisting of pebbles, cobbles and boulders cemented by sand and mud.
MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION STRATEGIES
Uluru is a joint managed area. It's board consists of 12 members, combining Aboriginal people and people voted in from the Australian Government & Parks Australia. Uluru is well known world heritage site for it’s incredible natural and man-made features. In order for this site to stay thriving, it must be managed responsibly and respectfully to the land and its people.
In 1994, Uluru was listed as a World Heritage Site for both natural and cultural values. When a site goes on the World Heritage list, it gets protected by the areas government. In the case of Uluru and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, it is owned by the Aboriginal community, but is leased to the Director of National Parks and Wildlife who is in charge of conserving it. Uluru is also in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which means that pets and domestic animals are not allowed there, people are not allowed to take or move natural elements such as rocks, shells, soil, e.g., vehicles must stay on designated roads along with other rules that help conserve the area.
One of the most effective ways to protect Uluru, is to not climb it. Not only does this respect the Aboriginal peoples cultural beliefs and rights, but is also helps to decrease the amount of erosion and weathering on Uluru. The Aboriginals creation stories are a very important part of Australian culture and we should be trying to preserve them for future generations. Also climbing Uluru could eventually cause a problem to the structure of the rock, meaning it could possibly fall and effect vegetation, animals, significant sites, ect.
Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park
HOW HAVE THESE STRATEGIES BEEN EFFECTIVE?
These strategies have been successful to a certain degree. The rules and regulations that were put in place by the government and board have slowed down the impact human activity has on Uluru. However, other than urging people not to climb Uluru due to the Aboriginal meaning it has, they have not banned climbing it in total. It is mostly tourists who are badly educated on the Aboriginal culture that climb it for their own pleasure. Yet restricting some areas from tourists, such as important carvings on the rocks, has not only protected the physical rock, but also its surrounding flora and fauna.
ULURU IN THE FUTURE
In the future, the numbers of Uluru climbers is likely decrease. As the rights of the Aboriginal People are still improving today, tourists will probably begin to realise that they should consider the Indigenous People's sacred landforms and traditions. Climbing may even be banned in the future for the same reason. There are not many accurate predictions of the numbers of tourists visiting Uluru in the future. It is very possible the board and government could officially allow less people in to the area, but other things could also affect tourism. For example, during the worldwide financial crisis, the tourism numbers dropped fairly dramatically as not many people were travelling.
Uluru Kata Tjuta Visitor Numbers
Uluru will always be one of Australia's most iconic places. With diverse wildlife and rich cultural meaning, it will always be an popular tourist attraction. It is being managed well, even though some improvements could be made in the near future.
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Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park Management Plan 2014, Australian Government, accessed 20 March 2017, <http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/f7d3c167-8bd1-470a-a502-ba222067e1ac/files/management-plan.pdf>.
Visitor Numbers and Satisfaction: Uluru-Kata Tjuta national Park 2014, Australian Government, accessed 20 March 2017, <http://eoi.uluru.gov.au/node/121/attachment>.