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Williamson Rock update
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By plantmandan
From Brighton, Co
Aug 7, 2014
J Tree after blizzard
The Forest Service released the following letter regarding the Williamson Rock area yesterday:

a123.g.akamai.net/7/123/11558/...

Basically, they finally have a plan for reopening parts of Williamson on a limited basis. Their timeline indicates the opening will not occur until 2016 at the earliest. The climbing areas near the creek will likely be closed for good, and the remaining areas will be opened from August 1 - November 15 only and accessible on a permit basis. They mention the endangered frog and raptor nesting as reasons for the annual 8.5 month closure. During the open period, the plan is to have a limit of 90 people per day and 30 vehicles in the parking area. A ranger with citation authority will be on site every day to enforce the rule.

They are accepting public comments on this plan until September 5. Information about how to comment is available in the above letter. The following provisions stood out to me:

1) The August 1 opening date appears to be arbitrary and related to raptor nesting. There is no reason to keep the area closed until a set date if the raptors have already nested successfully. In some areas of Colorado, the nesting activity is monitored, and closures are lifted as soon as nesting is complete, often much earlier than August 1. This works. The Forest Service should be urged to consider this when determining an opening date.

2) There is a line that mentions the permit system and ranger on duty will be partially funded by "user fees". This means there will likely be a special fee for securing a permit. We already pay enough fees (Forest Adventure Pass, anyone?) Please urge the USFS to not implement a special fee to use this area.

Any comment about the frog is likely to go unheeded. They are enforcing a designation under the Endangered Species Act. This closure has been harsh, but it very well could have been permanent. Above all, we must abide by the rules of the closure, annoying as they are.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Aug 7, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
This "PLAN" sucks balls....

How are they going to pay for it?????

60% of the worthwhile climbing is still going to be closed...

Permits via..some sort of advanced reservation system..

Park you car 2.5 miles away...

Big ass trail construction..., when the real acess is a 5.2 downclimb...

Paid fulltime ranger dude/dudette....

hahahahahahahaha just another GOV grab for $$$$$ for nothing.

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By Aaron covington
From Pinon hills, ca
Aug 8, 2014
necessary evil
I don't mind it not being packed with climbers like it is now. Wish it was a little cooler mid day but that's what the water upstream is for I guess.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Aug 8, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
Aaron covington wrote:
I don't mind it not being packed with climbers like it is now. Wish it was a little cooler mid day but that's what the water upstream is for I guess.



What do you mean? "Packed with climbers like it is now"

WTF ???

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By Aaron covington
From Pinon hills, ca
Aug 8, 2014
necessary evil
Might want to read that slow. NOT being packed with climbers.

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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Aug 8, 2014
old 1/4" bolt.
Old Guy......calm down. This plan isn't a government $$$$ grab. This is another case of Obama creating jobs and stimulating our economy via big government, and protecting the environment. Williamson Rock had become a circus prior to the closure in December 2005 and thanks to the lawyers at the Center for Biological Diversity in Arizona the plight of our MYLF and raptors was brought to the attention of our government agencies. What's not to like about government regulating and protecting the environment by investing $$$ and tons of manpower to construct trails, vault toilets, a 14' removable platform, barriers, hire a silviculturist, a full-time ranger (with citation authority), Forest Service Adminisrative personnel, flagging, and signage, in order to reopen Williamson Rock for 3.5 months/year and monitor your activities 24-7? Got a problem with the plan, write a letter articulating your concerns and grievances to Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, Congressional Rep. Julia Brownley, and Forest supervisor Thomas A. Contreras.
Also, Old Guy, Aaron makes the point that Williamson Rock WON'T be packed with climbers due to our government spending our $$$$ to limit access to 90 users and 30 cars/day, beginning in August 2016. And as an added bonus you get to carry your shit out with you in a gift bag.

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By Aaron covington
From Pinon hills, ca
Aug 8, 2014
necessary evil
No, I'm making the point that I like it being closed. Because all the routes are there, people don't trash the place, they're new routes yet to get bolted, and it's not packed. If you want to climb there, you still can, the cl

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By Aaron covington
From Pinon hills, ca
Aug 8, 2014
necessary evil
The closure just keeps the hoodlums out. A forest personnel isn't going to stop you or right you up if your bringing trash out with you are respectful and take care of it.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Aug 8, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
Ben.... so these are shovel ready jobs? Darn, I guess your right, we do need to save the place.

and Aaron... I do know what you mean.... :>0

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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Aug 8, 2014
old 1/4" bolt.
You're so right, Guy. Not highly skilled jobs, just grunt work. And "the plan" appears to create more impact and regulation then it mediates. Aaron....point well taken regarding preserving a place of solitude where you can climb and enjoy nature without the gym-like scene, but the rangers won't discourage the "hoodlums" or reduce trash. The USFS personnel seem to be rather ambivalent regarding the trash. We've seen USFS employees pull litter out of recesses in gates, where people have stuffed it, to unlock gates to pass through, and just left the trash on the ground.

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By Aaron covington
From Pinon hills, ca
Aug 8, 2014
necessary evil
In all reality it's our responsibility. If we want it to be nice we need to take charge, not have an organization do it. And if you don't want to take charge and clean as well as control others from trashing then your just as big of a problem. Be the solution or join the problem, but never should we hire people to enforce a solution.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Aug 8, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
Aaron covington wrote:
In all reality it's our responsibility. If we want it to be nice we need to take charge, not have an organization do it. And if you don't want to take charge and clean as well as control others from trashing then your just as big of a problem. Be the solution or join the problem, but never should we hire people to enforce a solution.



Word.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Aug 8, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
Benjamin Chapman wrote:
You're so right, Guy. Not highly skilled jobs, just grunt work. And "the plan" appears to create more impact and regulation then it mediates.


Yes- grunt work.... a new position, prolly requiring a MS in outdoor leadership.... starting pay $112/annul .... work from the brand new FS headquarters in Monrovia.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Aug 10, 2014
...
"This is another case of Obama creating jobs and stimulating our economy via big government"


Oh yeah! This too is Obamas fault.



If he'd just get out of the gym and on some real rock for once...

But nooooooooooo...

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By SmokeyDokey
Aug 15, 2014
Aaron covington wrote:
The closure just keeps the hoodlums out. A forest personnel isn't going to stop you or right you up if your bringing trash out with you are respectful and take care of it.


That is incorrect. The turnouts from Buckhorn to the tunnels are patrolled and the area scouted with binoculars, often by plainclothes volunteers that will radio violations to Forest Service dispatch. Any vehicles parked in the area are photographed and logged to identify repeat offenders. If you are spotted in the closure area you will be cited regardless of how respectful you believe you are being by violating a closure order.

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By Rough
Aug 15, 2014
I'm going to chime in on the "we can still pirate climb here" mentality. NorCal went through a similar issue with climbing at the Auburn State Recreation Area. I worked for years on access and many times during the process was on the receiving end of feedback stating exactly what Aaron has stated above. "I still climb here illegally and I like having it all to myself."

This is not an attitude that serves the climbing community any good and it actually is completely counter intuitive for long term access management, not just for Williamson, but for many of our areas where we have to deal with government bodies.

If I would've listened to the same argument related to Auburn, we would be exactly where you (Williamson) is now. Instead, Auburn is legally open 7 days a week. It was a LONG journey (14 years). It was extremely frustrating. We started off with access only on Fri-Sun. We had to have a volunteer in the Quarry at all times. It sucked, but we saw the vision of the end game and tirelessly pursued it. it took a group of dedicated people with the support of the climbing community to help keep the momentum due to the shear war of attrition aspect.

Don't give up, and don't be apathetic. Don't pirate climb and think you are doing the area or any other climber on this planet any good deed or justice. You are part of the problem when you take that perspective.

As for the issue of a special use fee or permit basis for climbing, I think that is a bad idea to limit climbers. If it was the parking issue only, then that is not as bad since it encourages people to carpool, but the permit per climber, I think that is a dangerous precedent for a PUBLIC area.

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By plantmandan
From Brighton, Co
Aug 15, 2014
J Tree after blizzard
Rough, thank you for your input and efforts on behalf of the climbing community.

As I stated before, the public comment period for this plan is open until September 5. Unfortunately, climbers tend to not participate when the debate is open. Commenting can make a difference.

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By jellybean
Aug 17, 2014
Chytridiomycosis studies are Fish and Game's honeypot. This fungal infection is world wide. Closing areas to the public is bullshit. They have done this farther up the road at Cabin Flats campground. A 7 year closure yielded jack squat. Williamson was never "trashed out", the climbers there were always good guardians of the forest. Poaching areas is illegal but I say go for it. The local law enforcement and forestry don't care, and the Fish and Game are to busy looking for people fishing without licences to bother. There is no signage so what can they say? Willy kicks ass and if you wait for bureaucracy to act you will miss out on many more seasons( plus the London wall is So-Cal's best summer climbing). This one is worth "pirating".

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By Mike Brady
From Oregon City, OR
Oct 8, 2014
Slashface goodness taken by RTM
Why not just go somewhere else. How many times can you climb the London Wall? Williamson is by no means your only option or even your best one. I guess I am biased though, I never felt the love for the climbing there.

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By other
From San Diego, CA
Oct 10, 2014
"That is incorrect. The turnouts from Buckhorn to the tunnels are patrolled and the area scouted with binoculars, often by plainclothes volunteers that will radio violations to Forest Service dispatch. Any vehicles parked in the area are photographed and logged to identify repeat offenders. If you are spotted in the closure area you will be cited regardless of how respectful you believe you are being by violating a closure order."

Smokeydokey where and from who are you getting this information? Youre saying the Williamson is inspected daily with binoculars? It sounds like a paranoid fantasy. Are there signs saying no parking at any turnout in the area? Then why would they photograph hikers cars? And who cares since its legal to park in an open turnout with an adventure pass-if those are even still required.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Oct 14, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
OTHER.... It is watched.

Go look at the good turnouts with views of the bottom, you will see very recent tire marks.

and the LEOS who slow down do take photo shots of the cars parked.

go spend a summers saturday watching, you will be surprised at what you can observe.

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By Clif Clap
Oct 15, 2014
Benjamin Chapman wrote:
Old Guy......calm down. This plan isn't a government $$$$ grab. This is another case of Obama creating jobs and stimulating our economy via big government, and protecting the environment. Williamson Rock had become a circus prior to the closure in December 2005


That damn Obama, screwing up the White House and closing Williamson Rock down even before he was president, way back in 2005.

Sir, you're a climber and a scholar.

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By SmokeyDokey
Oct 21, 2014
other wrote:
Smokeydokey where and from who are you getting this information? Youre saying the Williamson is inspected daily with binoculars? It sounds like a paranoid fantasy. Are there signs saying no parking at any turnout in the area? Then why would they photograph hikers cars? And who cares since its legal to park in an open turnout with an adventure pass-if those are even still required.

I'm getting that information from me, as one of the people who does exactly as I describe. It's not daily, but it's not rarely either. More random than anything. It's just a stop along the way to doing other work. It only takes two minutes to get out of the truck and look at the rock with binos. Once in a blue moon we'll hike in and take a look.

Cars are photographed so that when someone is nabbed violating the closure order we can go back and cross reference all the times their vehicle was spotted in the parking area. Of course it's not illegal to park in the parking area, but as it is in the closure area it's illegal to get out.

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By jellybean
Oct 24, 2014
Blowing SmokeyDokey, rock on America is ours for the taking.

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By other
From San Diego, CA
Nov 19, 2014
Smokey, you're lying, you're not a law enforcement officer, and you're factually wrong. Are you a senior citizen volunteer loser with no friends or women that can stand you and too much time, or a forest adventure ripoff pass fee collector? Are you a douchebag spy plainclothes worthless volunteer that hates citizens? Are you one of the members of the lunatic fringe anti people group that sued to get the rock closed? F*CK YOU A$$HOLE.
You don't hike down the Williamson trail on a fishing expedition on the slim chance you'll find someone. Youre too lazy. Officers drive on the road. There is one fish and wildlife officer and one USFS ranger patrolling the highway. They are looking for actual REAL crime or threats to public safety-not rock climbers. Is that you? You're a pathetic troll. Its not illegal to park ANYWHERE along the 30+ miles of highway in an open pullout that isn't clearly marked NO PARKING. The williamson trails pullouts are obstructed and marked so no one parks there.
"we can go back and cross reference all the times their vehicle was spotted in the parking area"
You can cross reference, peep, snoop, harass, threaten, stalk, video and photograph all you want. Its all mental masturbation. If you don't have probable cause or evidence of a crime happening RIGHT THEN it means nothing. If youre not a cop it means nothing. Or are you planning on citing them for loitering? Then you'll get complaints against you, reprimands and be demoted or transferred for harassment and stalking. Anyone can park along that open road every day all day and you can at most give a fake ticket for not buying an illegal adventure pass, which is optional to pay and nothing will ever happen if its not paid, per federal judges. IF you see people climbing and then spend an hour hiking to them, wait for them to come down to the ground and another hour hiking out, or wait for 8 hours on the highway for them to hike out-which has never happened and won't happen (correct me if I'm wrong with names, dates, charges/reasons for citing and outcomes)-then you can ticket them for an infraction.
If you are in fact a real sworn cop and not a troll go ahead and post your real name, agency, office and ID/employee number. And how about catching some actual criminals instead of threatening and harassing climbers? Isn't that why you joined to begin with?

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By other
From San Diego, CA
Nov 19, 2014
To the loser volunteer spies and useless fee collectors like Smokeydokey:
April 2014
A US District Court Judge, Terry Hatter, Jr., citing a 2012 federal appeals decision in Arizona has ruled against the US Forest Service Adventure Pass fees in Southern California. The federal judge has ruled that visitors to Southern California's four national forests DO NOT need to buy an Adventure Pass, if they are only hiking and do not use Forest facilities. What the rangers and/or ticket issuers can't do is just assume that anyone who is parked at a trailhead is using the facilities and issue a citation.
Hatter Jr. sided with four hikers who contended that Southern California forests were improperly requiring them to buy an Adventure Pass even when they didnít use any developed facilities.
latimes.com/science/sciencenow...

FLAG


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