A new representative body for climbers fears Mount Arapiles may not be fully open to climbers into the future, ahead of a cultural heritage survey at the site.
It comes as Horsham Rural City Council is seeking to market the Wimmera icon to tourists other than climbers, with the aim of sustaining the nearby town of Natimuk.
Australian Climbing Association Victoria spokesman Mike Tomkins said the group was worried because access had been restricted at Summerday Valley in the Grampians after similar surveys earlier this year.
"We've heard the (Arapiles) surveys will commence in spring," he said.
"Licensed tour operators are allowed to go into Summerday Valley, but climbers can't and we've got no knowledge of why," he said. "You can see how we would draw a line between the Grampians and Mount Arapiles, and be extremely concerned."
Mr Tomkins said it was not rock art but "intangible cultural values" Parks Victoria was seeking to protect in making the changes.
"Arapiles is really the birthplace of Australian rockclimbing, and it's where people dream about going one day," he said.
Parks Victoria estimates tourists spend a total of 80,000 visitor days at Mount Arapiles each year.
The Mail-Times hascontacted Parks Victoria for comment on how many sites of cultural significance it was aware of at Mount Arapiles.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council chief executive Michael Stewart said it would be inappropriate to comment on the cultural heritage of Arapiles before in-depth studies had taken place.
Horsham Rural City Council's co-ordinator of business development and tourism Chris McClure said council wanted to grow the number of visitors who came to Arapiles to do activities other than climbing.
"We want to diversify the mountain to include photographers, bushwalkers and grey nomads with caravans," he said.
"We have done caravan and camping expos in Adelaide and Grampians Tourism has taken the lead in marketing the mountain to the Outdoor Adventure Expo.
"We also know a lot of young people move away for study, so we try and market Natimuk to them as a place to visit with their families when they come back.
Mr McClure said while council had not sought proactively to grow the number of businesses in Natimuk, it would support anyone who wanted to set one up there.
"We would help to facilitate anyone who approached us saying they wanted to set one up there by figuring out if it was needed and how it would complement the ones already there," he said.
"It may be that Natimuk needs more accommodation: We know it hosts arts events each year, including the Nati Frinj this November, and accommodation is always tight when that happens.
"At the end of the day, the mountain will always be there. Its uses may change but we are focusing on supporting Natimuk as a community."
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