Under a new plan released on Wednesday July 8, 2009, by the National Parks Service of Australia, climbing Uluru, Australia's famous red sandstone monolith, may be banned in the future, citing cultural, safety and environmental reasons.
Climbing the rock has long been opposed by the Nguraritja, the Aboriginal tribe who regained title to the land in 1985 and consider it sacred territory. The tribe and federal parks service jointly manage the site, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are signs at Uluru that say it is a spiritual place for Aborigines and warning that the steep, slippery climb can be dangerous. More than 30 people have died while climbing the rock, which is higher than the Eiffel Tower and about six miles in circumference.
The park draws about 350,000 visitors a year. The parks service said the number of visitors that choose to climb Uluru has dropped to about 38 percent from 74 percent in 1990.