December 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm #150479
I headed out to Churchman’s on Sunday to find it being used by SES for vertical rescue training. I’m totally supportive of what the SES volunteers do, they put a lot of personal time into being trained and ready to respond to all kinds of emergency situations, risking their lives to save others. They were really friendly and shared the crag with 4 other climbing parties. Unfortunately it was quite noticeable how much disturbance/erosion was being caused by such a large group getting around with heavy gear. The soil around Churchman’s is quite fragile and it doesn’t take much for it to be eroded. Churchman’s is really special for Perth climbers as it is one of the only decent natural (and trad!) areas close to the metro.
Does CAWA have a good relationship with SES to talk to them about erosion issues? I understand that Churchmans is public land but large group training is much better suited to disturbed unnatural areas such as Mountain/Boya/Stratham quarries. These areas are actively managed by DPAW.
As a direct result of the days training activities there is some serious soil disturbance up on top where the tripod haul system was set up (above red direct). There was also some erosion at the base of set of abseils due to scuffing the ground with heavy boots when still partially loaded on the abseil line. Weather was fine, light breeze, intermittent rock showers – good day to be wearing a helmet!
I’m conscious that climbers also contribute to erosion around the crag and the access track. The main track down is also heavily eroded. so I’m not solely putting any one group/party to blame but just wanted to highlight that the crag is due for some TLC. CAWA volunteers put in a good effort putting in the steps but maybe its time for another working bee with CAWA, SES and other climbers to stabilise some of the tracks to ensure the longevity of the crag? I’m happy to help with the grunt work but don’t have any experience on erosion control.
JDecember 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm #150480
I vaguely remember that commercial abseiling groups are not allowed to use Churchman’s. The same piece of legislation (management plan?) may have something to say about the sort of thing discussed above. Some web searching is needed….
Besides that, it is quite obvious to me that quarries are much better places for this sort of high impact non-recreational activity, wrt enviro impact, impact on climbers, safety (the gravel on top)….December 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm #150481
Churchmans brook crag is within Wungong Regional Park managed by DPAW but i couldn’t find a management plan on their website.
it seems there are maybe a few local bushcare groups around which we could approach to help with erosion control (or could help us out with equipment)
– Friends of Churchmans Bushland (10 members – got a small grant this year from Perth region NRM)
– Churchman’s Bushland Association (maybe not active any longer?)
– Roleybushcare > http://www.roleybushcare.com.auDecember 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm #150483
Thanks for the info.
My understanding is that commercial activity involving abseiling is allowed, but that there is a gentleman’s agreement that abseiling does not take place. This is something that I have been trying to clarify just recently and still working on it. I would be keen to see abseiling as a stand alone activity banned there for the exact reasons you have noted above – the unique nature of the crag, erosion and safety issues.
Do you know which SES unit it was or have the name of the group leader? If so, please email me the details. My address is on the committee page. I’m happy to have a chat to them but will also need to talk to DPaW who are supposed to be contacted about that kind of activity prior to the event. Abseiling is not permitted on DPaW managed land without permission unless it is a designated abseiling site (potentially different again to it just being allowed in an area) and there are regulations that cover prevention of damage and disturbance to DPaW managed land.
I’ll keep you posted.December 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm #150484
There is no specific management plan for Churchmans.December 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm #150503
Hi Jordy and Dena,
I was one of those Bloody SES people training at Churchmans on the weekend. the event was our largest ever and held by metro not a single unit.
It is rare for us to train at Churchmans and the soil erosion is taken in to serious concern where ever we go, and we do put efforts in to place to minimise our impact on the environment.
I asked the person in charge about permission and he assured me that he had DPaW permission to use the site. saying this I am more than happy to provide your details along to the organizing DO (District officer) if you would like.
A note for all climbers: If you are not happy with the actions of the SES while conducting our vertical rescue training, Please have a chat to who ever is in the yellow vest, This is our Safety officer and are basically second in charge for the day.
0410 506 346
CAWA Member, Climber and SES volunteer.December 3, 2014 at 7:49 pm #150528
Thanks for responding. I have spoken to DPaW but will contact you privately to have a chat before posting anything further on here.