Climbing barred on Australia's famed Uluru rock to 'right historic wrong'

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For years, visitors to Uluru - Australia's iconic sandstone rock - have been greeted with a trail to the top and a sign with a simple request: "Please don't climb".

It's been a long time coming, but climbing Uluru will finally be officially banned in 2019.

It chose to close the rock to climbers from October 26, 2019 - 34 years to the day since it was handed back to its traditional owners, the Anangu people, the Northern Territory News reports. "We are not stopping tourism, just this activity", he said.

A park board made up of a majority of the traditional owners of the land where the rock stands made the decision Wednesday.

" 'Over the years Anangu have felt a sense of intimidation, as if someone is holding a gun to our heads to keep it open".

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Mr Wilson, the park board's chairman, said visitors will still be welcomed. "This decision is for both Anangu and non-Anangu to feel proud about". However, the park's board has been unable to vote on a formal ban until now due to an agreement that required the number of visitors making the climb to drop below 20 percent before a ban was considered.

Located in Australia's desert centre, Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) is one of the country's most popular, yet sacred tourist destinations.

The climbing ban will start on October 26, 2019, the 34th anniversary of the day that the UNESCO World Heritage site was handed back to the Anangu people.

In the Anangu tradition, Uluru is a sacred place and climbing it is inherently disrespectful. More than 30 people have died attempting the climb.

The site is often closed to climbers after the death of important indigenous figures as a mark of respect.

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