Ayer's Rock, also known as Uluru, is to become off limits to tourists climbing all over it due to erosion concerns and safety issues. The rock is subject to damage from the 100,000 or so tourists that climb it each year, and with Ayer's Rock being a huge sandstone rock, it's taking a toll on it's structure. The ban has also been proposed out of respect for the Aboriginal owners of the "sandstone monolith", who consider Uluru to be sacred.
Within 18 months, the 550 million year old rock could be off limits to tourists who wish to climb it. Despite some opposition from tourism groups, support is strong from the Aboriginal community: "The rock and the ground around it is sacred...and traditional owners have wanted the climb closed since the land was handed back to them in 1985," said Vince Forrester, a spokesman for the traditional owners.
Respect is shown towards other attractions with religious significance, he argued: "You can't go and climb on top of the Vatican, you can't go and climb on top of the Buddhist temples... Obviously you have to respect our religious attachment to the land too, so we're saying: please do not climb Uluru."
Of course, this proposed ban doesn't diminish the draw of Uluru, as you can still walk around it and view its glory. The sandstone rock is quite an amazing sight and a favorite of photographers as it changes colors with the day's varying light.
Hopefully this doesn't mean that anyone who just 'has to' climb Ayer's Rock now decides to go to Australia en masse just to scramble up it!
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