Last month, the ban on climbing Australia’s World Heritage-listed Uluru went into effect, and now the traditional guardians of some of the country’s other sacred sites are looking to follow suit. 

Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory, Australia
Uluru's climbing ban went into effect at the end of October Image © Stanislav Fosenbauer/Shutterstock

Per CNN Travel, two Aboriginal sites that have become flooded with tourists – Wollumbin, or Mount Warning, in New South Wales, and Mount Beerwah, in Queensland – are looking to the government to implement a similar climbing ban. 

Wollumbin’s traditional guardians, the Bundjalun, have posted signage asking visitors to refrain from scaling the 1156-meter peak, but 100,000-odd people still make the climb each year, according to the report. "It is equivalent to climbing on top of the Vatican," a Bundjalung representative told CNN Travel. "It is equivalent to climbing on top of Muslim mosques."

Mount Warning in Wollumbin National Park, from the Best of All Lookout in Springbrook National Park, Queensland, Australia
Even though Wollumbin's traditional guardians request that people refrain from climbing, the mountain still receives some 100,000 hikers per year. Image © Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Not only are hikers violating a sacred site, they’re also putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. Two years ago, so many people were unprepared for the trek that the local volunteer rescue association was reportedly considering a dedicated rescue service just for the mountain. Over in Queensland’s Glass House Mountains, it’s much the same story. According to state data, three of the range’s ten peaks have seen 112 rescues over the past two years – ten times more than any other mountain in Queensland. The highest, Mount Beerwah, reopened for climbing in 2016, and the area's indigenous elders have been opposing the decision ever since. (There are also calls for a ban on climbing nearby Mount Coolum.)

Mount Beerwah, one of the Glass House Mountains, in Queensland, Australia.
A group of indigenous elders is calling for Mount Beerwah to be closed to climbers. Image © Steve Clancy Photography/Getty Images

"[Mount Beerwah is] the mother mountain. It is a sacred site. It’s where the birthing places were, that’s the main thing, not for people to climb and take videos up,” Ken Murphy, senior elder of the Jinibara people, reportedly told the Weekly Times Now. “You see the climbers with their lightweight gear drilling into her and scarring the mountain…. A lot aren’t culturally aware and we can’t stop them.” 

Despite those objections, there are no plans to close the mountain to climbers, the state’s environmental minister told CNN Travel. "Here in Queensland, the government continues to work in partnership with traditional owners. Conversations about how best to protect culturally significant sites are ongoing," Leeanne Enoch told CNN Travel in a statement. "Traditional owners would be a partner in any decision made regarding a closure."

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