AUSTRALIAN Climbing Association of Victoria vice president Jackie Bernardi has called for climbers to be part of discussions where appropriate over the use of Declaration Crag.
On Wednesday, Barengi Gadjin Land Council and Parks Victoria announced sites of cultural heritage had been rediscovered at the location within Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park.
Ms Bernardi said association members were keen to learn about what had been uncovered, and how climbers could support the protection of the site.
"Climbers certainly want to maintain culturally significant findings, and would be mortified to know they were climbing on it," she said.
"At this stage, it's not clear exactly where the finding is, so moving forward we are interested to know what is there, what its significance is and to discuss with the Barengi Gadjin Land Council what this means to them."
BARENGI Gadjin Land Council's on country operations manager Stu Harradine says the organisation will consult with climbers and Traditional Owners, following the discovery of rock art and quarry sites at Mount Arapiles.
The finds at Declaration Crag in the national park were announced on Wednesday. Mr Harradine said requesting no one enter the site was necessary to ensure it could be protected.
"The rock art, in particular, is very vulnerable because it's in a quite exposed part of the site. In the meantime, it gives us the opportunity to undertake further discussions with stakeholder groups in terms of what we've done and why we've done it."
Mr Harradine said the organisation would now undertake planning as to what was appropriate to manage the site into the future.
"Obviously there are going to be ongoing discussions around the use of the site," he said.
"Were certainly aware of some sensitivities among rock climbers that might access that site, and the licensed tour operators that might take groups there," he said. "So we're hoping to alleviate people's fears... amongst some sections of the community... Traditional Owners want to close down all climbing in Mount Arapiles - that's not the case."
He said a number of different activities would have taken place around the site, which was rediscovered "incidentally".
"In terms of being a quarry site, that involves the manufacture of stone tools, so it's an industrial area, I guess. The rock art side of things also suggests a ceremonial type of aspect to it as well," he said.
Earlier: BARENGI Gadjin Land Council says it has rediscovered rock art at Declaration Crag, at the base of Mount Arapiles.
It has prompted the Traditional Owners organisation and Parks Victoria, which co-manage the Arapiles-Tooan State Park, to request that people avoid the area.
The area, also known as Taylors Rock, is popular with rock climbers, being 15 metres from a road and with 35 different climbs possible, according to user-edited rock climbing website thecrag.com.
In a statement, Parks Victoria and BGLC said the site included "dozens of painted motifs, plus artefact scatters and quarry sites".
The statement also said the sites had been added to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register.
"To protect the site while a longer-term management response is explored, Parks Victoria and Barengi Gadjin Land Council, which co-manage the park, have installed visitor signage requesting people to respectfully avoid entering the area effectively immediately," it said.
"Park rangers and aboriginal heritage officers will be regularly visiting the site to help make visitors aware of its cultural significance. The Aboriginal Heritage Act (2006) protects Aboriginal cultural heritage, and significant financial penalties apply for harm caused by individuals or corporate bodies.
"There is otherwise no change to visitor activities in the rest of the park."
In a statement on its website, the Australian Climbers Association of Victoria said BGLC informed a rock climbing roundtable of the discovery.
"Temporary restrictions are in place from December 4th while the Traditional Owners decide what they would like to do with this discovery and how to manage the site'," it said.
"This is an opportunity for the climbing community to demonstrate our respect for Aboriginal culture and heritage, and show our desire to work with Traditional Owners which for Arapiles, has been mostly positive.
"We have been forewarned that climbers response to this will literally impact how future negotiations go."
Horsham Rural City Mayor Mark Radford said the discovery was "exciting" and that it was important all parties worked together.
"The council is not directly involved in these discussions, but we have a secondary interest in Mount Arapiles," he said.
"We have an Aboriginal Advisory Committee and a tourism committee, and if the council can assist in any way we will."
Wednesday's announcement follows tensions about the future of rock climbing in the Arapiles and Grampians parks.
In February Parks Victoria announced it would start more strictly enforcing restrictions on climbing in eight "Special Protection Areas" in the Grampians, while allowing licensed tour operators to continue taking people climbing in Summer Day Valley.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.