On November 17, 2023, two separate “Climbing Management Plan” draft documents were released to the public by US Forest Service (USFS) and National Park Service (NPS) There is a major concern among climbers and LCOs that climbing access and climber safety will be affected by these two plans. These draft plans are open for public comment until Jan 30, 2024.
Access Fund has a Press Release on their website that contains an initial discussion and reaction amongst the greater climbing community. Access Fund has also released their Wilderness Climbing FAQ regarding these two draft plans, providing answers to questions on the plans, and some information about two bills currently before Congress that support outdoor climbing and recreation: Protecting America’s Rock Climbing Act (PARCA) in the House and America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) in the Senate.
What would be affected in National Parks??
Iconic climbing areas such as Yosemite, Rocky Mountain NP, Joshua Tree, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and more, would be directly affected. There are already NPS regulations in Yosemite for bolting in the Park and Wilderness Areas. This new policy would deem all current fixed anchors "illegal installations," affecting iconic Yosemite routes on Half Dome, The Nose, Freerider, and more. Routes on, but not limited to, The Diamond and Lumpy Ridge in Rocky Mountain would also fall under this NPS same proposed policy.
What would be affected locally on Lemmon??
Below is a map indicating the locations of various crags located in the Mount Lemmon area.
Crags marked by a pink tag are located in the Coronado National Forest and could fall under the same restrictions as Wilderness Areas, if the USFS extends the rules to National Forest. This is not limited to Lemmon, but extends to Cochise Stronghold, The Dry, Elephant Head, Rincon, Mt Wrightson.
What can you do?
Comment on each of the Climbing Management Plans using the guidance provided below BEFORE January 30th, 9:59pm MST. It is important that your comments are unique and personal, based on your climbing experiences here in Southern Arizona and other locations that will be affected. Attend one of CASA’a tabling events the week of Jan 8 at Rocks and Ropes for assistance in writing and submitting your comments on the two plans (check social media for times and dates).
Talking Points and Guidance
Please take the time to write a unique and personal comment by paraphrasing the following talking points. Write in a way to incorporate the main ideas listed below into your comments. You can refer to the Access Fund’s Action Alert for more detailed info.
In creating stronger, personal comments, try to include your own stories, such as meaningful climbing experiences in or outside of wilderness areas, and what you are personally concerned about losing as a US Forest or National Park user.
Remember, climbing has been and continues to be compatible with wilderness on National Forests and National Parks, and these changes are completely unnecessary.
Submit your comments now!