Visitors to Australia will soon be prohibited from climbing one of the country’s most well-known landmarks.
The New York Times reported that as of Oct. 26, 2019, the board of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will begin enforcing a climbing ban on Uluru, also known as Ayer’s Rock, citing the sandstone formation’s spiritual importance to the region’s indigenous Anangu people.
The start of the ban coincides with an historic date for the site: in 1985, the Australian government returned ownership of Uluru to the Anangu, who now lease the site back to the government in a joint management arrangement.
The board has also raised concerns that climbing the formation, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, will cause further damage to the stone.
Currently, Uluru sees approximately 250,000 tourists per year, with many tour operators opting for itineraries around the formation’s base.