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BLM/Castle Rocks climbing closure
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By Andrew Carson
From Wilson, WY
Apr 17, 2013
Gallatin Canyon
The Burley Field Office of the BLM is moving forward with the long anticipated process for closing its lands adjacent to the State Park to pretty much all climbing activity. It has published its amended management plan and proposed record of decision and will accept public comment for a limited time.
Interested parties can consult the Access Fund or American Alpine Club for timely and accurate updates and effective response choices. The East Idaho Climbers Coalition in Pocatello would also be a valuable contact.
While Massacre Rocks is not mentioned in the latest announcement, it is generally understood that climbing closures on BLM lands in that area are in our future.

FLAG
By Brian in SLC
Apr 17, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Thanks for the head's up!

-Brian in SLC

blm.gov/id/st/en/info/newsroom...

BLM Accepting Comments for Proposal to Amend the Cassia and Monument Resource Management Plans

BURLEY, ID - The BLM Burley Field Office is seeking input from the public for the next 30 days as staff proposes to amend the Monument and Cassia Resource Management Plans (RMP). The plan amendment proposal is designed to implement a closure to rock climbing activities at Cedar Fields to protect cultural resources. Additionally, the proposal would extend the climbing closure of BLM administered lands at Castle Rocks Inter-agency Recreation Area until an Environmental Assessment can examine allowable resource uses in the area.

The planning areas are located in Cassia and Power Counties, and encompass approximately 1,556 acres of public land. The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including alternatives, and guide the planning process. Preliminary issues include the potential to damage cultural resources within the American Falls Archeological District at Cedar Fields, the potential adverse effects on Historic Properties at Castle Rocks, and the impact closures would have on recreational climbing in the area.

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By Brian in SLC
Apr 17, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Andrew Carson wrote:
While Massacre Rocks is not mentioned in the latest announcement, it is generally understood that climbing closures on BLM lands in that area are in our future.


It my understanding that the "Cedar Fields" area contains at least some of the climbing area at Massacre Rocks.

Some fine comments here:

seiclimbing.com/wp-content/upl...

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By RocknRone
From Idaho
Apr 18, 2013
me
Reclamation Announces Temporary Closure of Project Lands to Public Use Downstream of American Falls Dam
The Bureau of Reclamation is announcing its decision to implement a non-emergency closure of its project lands along the Snake River downstream of American Falls Dam. The subject lands are in the vicinity of the Massacre Rocks State Park in Power County, Idaho. The closure affects all public use of these lands and will be effective March 31, 2012.
The area in question, which encompasses more than 4,000 acres, is experiencing degradation to a number of its resources. These resources are protected by federal laws that also task the agency to act in the best interest of their preservation. The closure is authorized by the current Code of Federal Regulations; specifically 43 CFR Part 423 under Subpart B – Areas Open and Closed to Public Use.
“Currently, Reclamation does not have the necessary protections in place to fully protect the natural and cultural resources in this area,” said Hap Boyer, Natural Resources Manager in the Upper Snake Field Office of the Bureau of Reclamation. “This closure is taking place to allow Reclamation to collect the data needed to guide future management strategies and decisions.”
The lands involved in this closure will remain closed to public use until proper studies can take place that will help determine how and when to re-open the lands. An amendment to the existing Resource Management Plan for this area will be undertaken as a result of the studies.
The closed lands will be patrolled by law enforcement. The public is urged to respect this closure and the need for these resources to remain undisturbed for a period of time.
For further information, please contact Robert “Hap” Boyer at (208) 678-0461, ext. 15 with the Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Snake Field Office in Burley, Idaho.
Just so everyone is clear on what this means to climbers here is a list of walls affected by this action:
Main Wall
Outback
Owl Cove
The Overlook
Forbidden Planet
French Wall
Hobbit Wall

FLAG
By Doug Lintz
From Kearney, NE
Apr 18, 2013
Destroyer of popcorn
Can someone tell me which specific "natural and cultural resources" are at risk? I've only climbed within the state park so I'm not familiar with what resources are being harmed. Thanks.

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By Greg G
From SLC, UT
Apr 18, 2013
The route in it's entirety.
Is there an avenue for contacting officials regarding this? I feel like we did this last year as well to curb any more potential closures, but another year and another judicial hearing has changed that I guess?

FLAG
By Brian in SLC
Apr 18, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Doug Lintz wrote:
Can someone tell me which specific "natural and cultural resources" are at risk? I've only climbed within the state park so I'm not familiar with what resources are being harmed. Thanks.


I'm just guessing, but, based on the number of archeological surveys done, there must be "significant culteral resources" or the potential for such. SHPO.

Probably want to set it aside and get around to it when they can. Not sure they've done the EA they need to justify the closure. My bet is they don't have the manpower to figure out just what they got, so, its easy to see climbing, especially bouldering (ala the Taco Cave as an example) as a risk to the culteral resources that "may" be around. Shallow rock overhangs and the like have got to be the key feature on the radar methinks...

Kind of a sucky situation for all of us, IDPR folks included. My bet is they don't want to enforce the BLM closure and aren't staffed to edjucate, sign for or patrol it anyhow. Its such a small parcel wedged in behind the main Castle Rock area between IDPR land and the Forest Service. And, as kind of a bummer for them, they put in some nice signs and trails through the BLM area too. Part of the loop trail that goes around the backside via Stines Creek/Almo Creek.

There's a bunch of formations on the BLM parcel that have established routes and have had for since before the park opened to the public. Its a nice, quiet, off-the-radar place to climb.

I think they still have active livestock grazing permits on that BLM parcel too...ugh.

FLAG
By dave bingham
Apr 29, 2013
I read the BLM's recently released final report and it's clear they are moving forward with their preferred alternative - no climbing or trail development.

What is only slightly less clear is their motivation. My understanding is that the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have put pressure on the BLM to close both the Castle Rocks sector and significant portions of Massacre Rocks,which they consider "sacred ground". While the loss of a few crags may not be a big deal, the precedent set with this ruling is disturbing.

Despite the valiant efforts of the Access Fund, climbers remain a weak player in the game, subject to use as pawns to appease well-funded and motivated groups.

How they intend to mark or enforce the borders of the sacred ground remains to be seen.

FLAG
 
By JeanieB
From Provo, UT
Apr 29, 2013
I would really be interested in following up with this as we frequent the Castle Rocks area quite a bit. I looked on the AF and AAC websites for any information about this but couldn't find anything. Does anyone have any other contacts where I might get more information about the situation and how we can help? Thanks!

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By Brian in SLC
May 2, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
There we go, Access Fund!

Access Fund Castle Rock Action Alert!

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By Frosty Weller
From Colorado
May 2, 2013
Desert Tower
Right on Access Fund... and thanks Brian!

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By dano-colorado
May 2, 2013
Great job Access Fund. We should all do our part by sending the e-mail that Access Fund recommends.

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By dano-colorado
May 2, 2013
Idaho Mountain Festival
FYI: With all the drama about the BLM portion of Castle Rocks, we want you to be assured that this does not affect the State owned portion of Castle Rocks. The State of Idaho owns and manages all the land and rocks that we all use whenever we go there. This means that the festival is in no way affected with closure. With that being said, let's still fight to open up access to the other great potential that the area has to offer. There is no reason why climbers should be singled out when hikers, hunters, and ranchers can still use the land.

FLAG
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
May 3, 2013
I was one of the original commenters and received the documents from the BLM on their proposed closure. Their whole plan is big on closures to the taxpaying public and small on any form of credible science. The basis for the closure is that climbers MAY erode the dirt, exposing arrow heads that would then be picked up and the "data" from that would then be forever lost. How are these any areas that would be subject to this loss of alleged data any different from anywhere else in the United States. That aspect is not addressed in the BLM's "science". This really appears to be someone with a political agenda using their government position to further their cause. The local climbing community should complain directly to their US Senators and Representatives. Agencies tend to pay a lot of attention to letters to elected officials.

FLAG
By Brian in SLC
May 3, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
dano-colorado wrote:
Idaho Mountain Festival FYI: With all the drama about the BLM portion of Castle Rocks, we want you to be assured that this does not affect the State owned portion of Castle Rocks. The State of Idaho owns and manages all the land and rocks that we all use whenever we go there. This means that the festival is in no way affected with closure. With that being said, let's still fight to open up access to the other great potential that the area has to offer. There is no reason why climbers should be singled out when hikers, hunters, and ranchers can still use the land.


Just as clarification, the state of Idaho does NOT own and manage all the land and rocks that we use when we go there. Not the BLM portion, and, not the Forest Service portion.

We're not fighting to open up access that we've never had. There's long established climbing routes on both the BLM and Forest Services lands adjacent to the IDPR property. That potential has been realized for many years.

This puts the IDPR in a bad spot, right in the middle of this. Nearly all access (certainly the "reasonable" access) to the BLM and FS parcels is through IDPR managed and maintained roads, gates and trails. I can't imagine they want to "manage" the closure of the BLM parcel. As such, it pretty much directly effects the IDPR.

Is the festival going to be liable for folks who stray onto the BLM property and climb?

I think you got a dog in this hunt...we all do.

FLAG
By kevinhansen
From Albion Idaho
May 4, 2013
Why I do it...
Brian in SLC wrote:
....There's long established climbing routes on both the BLM and Forest Services lands adjacent to the IDPR property. That potential has been realized for many years..... I think you got a dog in this hunt...we all do.


I'm NOT saying we shouldn't fight for our rights, but am I the only one thinking that this 400 acre closure effects a bunch of sage brush and 20 foot boulders not worth hiking to? Seriously can anyone post a map of the area that was closed?

FLAG
 
By dan zika
From jax wy
May 4, 2013
tower fever <br />
please look at bigger picture blm is trying to close areas all over the west christmas tree pass, massacre rocks is worth makeing a stand, hobbit wall is super cool,blm controls a large acerage in the west, especially land that is super ariable, sage & cactus country,lotsa rock in there!

Not so long ago castle rocks was off limints

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By kevinhansen
From Albion Idaho
May 4, 2013
Why I do it...
dan zika wrote:
please look at bigger picture blm is trying to close areas all over the west christmas tree pass, massacre rocks is worth makeing a stand, hobbit wall is super cool,blm controls a large acerage in the west, especially land that is super ariable, sage & cactus country,lotsa rock in there! Not so long ago castle rocks was off limints


I totally agree. Massacre is taking a huge hit, yet no press. Whats up?

FLAG
By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
May 4, 2013
Stabby
Tzilla Rapdrilla wrote:
I was one of the original commenters and received the documents from the BLM on their proposed closure. Their whole plan is big on closures to the taxpaying public and small on any form of credible science. The basis for the closure is that climbers MAY erode the dirt, exposing arrow heads that would then be picked up and the "data" from that would then be forever lost. How are these any areas that would be subject to this loss of alleged data any different from anywhere else in the United States. That aspect is not addressed in the BLM's "science". This really appears to be someone with a political agenda using their government position to further their cause. The local climbing community should complain directly to their US Senators and Representatives. Agencies tend to pay a lot of attention to letters to elected officials.

What Tod said. Behind this bullshit are some elitist 'experts', probably aligned with a university nearby. These fuckers mole into policy-consulting roles and then implement their plan which has a foundational belief that the public is nothing more than baboons and need to be well-regulated (statism). Tod knows how government operates, I say we all need to get fired up here and blast out messages en-masse. This sort of crap is only going to get worse; and just wait for the sequestration excuse for coming closures. Can a local post-up who to target?

FLAG
By Brian in SLC
May 4, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
From the trail map issued by the IDPR:

Castle Rock State Park trails

Castle Rocks trail map snippet
Castle Rocks trail map snippet


You can see the boundary lines north of Comp Wall (effects Tidal Wave and Mount Mahogany) west of Brackseick's (effects Blarney Stone) west of the Duke and True Grit (effects Jug Wall, Teaser Tower, Chamber of Secrets, Sorcerer's Stone, the Kingdom, Wall of Plenty, etc etc etc).

These aren't 20 foot high boulders... Sorcerer's Stone, for example, has a three pitch route (Pole Cat).

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By kevinhansen
From Albion Idaho
May 5, 2013
Why I do it...
WOW, that's a lot of closed rock! There are a lot of routes I want to climb still. I've already written my emails last night. What else can I do? How about a good ol' fashion sit in? Tell me who's address to camp out at and I will move in and set up shop right on their front sidewalk.

FLAG
By Brian in SLC
May 6, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Looking at this list of people:

BLM Idaho Archeologists

I'm goin' to connect the dots and wonder if its the Burley person.

FLAG
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
May 8, 2013
Brian, looks like you are connecting the dots, this needs to be escalated way above her pay grade and in the political arena.

FLAG
By Price
From SLC, UT
May 9, 2013
It's sad that this is not getting the attention it deserves.

MP.com has sticky threads up for other climbing closures, why not this one?

A meager 20+ responses to this thread, and who knows if anyone is actually sending in letters to keep the place open. Go viral, people. Get this shit on your facebook pages. Brian is pretty much the only one acting like this is a big deal.

If you haven't already - accessfund.org/c.tmL5KhNWLrH/b...

Go to that link and send a message. Personalize it. If you don't live in Idaho, tell them that you know a lot of people who do, and you're extremely persuasive when election season rolls around.

FLAG
 
By The Phoenix
May 9, 2013
The Phoenix
Mail Sent...

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By Derek Lawrence
From Bailey
May 9, 2013
Cocaine Corner
Email sent...

FLAG


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